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Return of the Ape Man (1944)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi  |  17 July 1944 (USA)
4.6
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Ratings: 4.6/10 from 162 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 10 critic

While on an Arctic expedition, two scientists find the frozen body of a prehistoric caveman. They bring him home to their laboratory, but decide that in order to fully utilize (and control)... See full summary »

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(as Philip Rosen)

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
George Zucco ...
Ape Man
Frank Moran ...
Ape Man
Teala Loring ...
Anne (as Judith Gibson)
Tod Andrews ...
Steve (as Michael Ames)
Mary Currier ...
Mrs. Gilmore
Eddy Chandler ...
Sergeant (as Ed Chandler)
Ernie Adams ...
Tramp
Edit

Storyline

While on an Arctic expedition, two scientists find the frozen body of a prehistoric caveman. They bring him home to their laboratory, but decide that in order to fully utilize (and control) him, they must transplant a more developed brain into the caveman. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

YOU'LL BE FROZEN TO YOUR SEAT IN TERROR! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 July 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Volta do Homem Gorila  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Zucco was hired for the part of the Ape Man and showed up for initial costume fittings and preliminary make-up applications, but he fell ill prior to shooting and was replaced by Frank Moran. However, his contract required that he receive third billing, so even though he appears in the film for only a few seconds*, he is still billed third. He does appear in some lobby cards, however, and there are publicity photos taken of him in full costume and make-up. (*Keen eyed viewers will spot him in the initial scenes of the dormant ape-man lying on Dexter's lab table. Frank Moran takes over just as creature stirs and wakes up). He did recover to join Bela Lugosi and John Carradine in the follow-up, "Voodoo Man." See more »

Connections

Features Alaskan Adventures (1926) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Return Of The Ape Man (1944) *1/2
8 July 2005 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Having now watched some 12 of Lugosi's "cheapies", I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed some of them - but others are just so silly that, for me, it hampers rather than enhances their entertainment value! Unfortunately, RETURN OF THE APE MAN happens to be one of them.

Let's begin with the good stuff: Lugosi and Carradine interact well together and I'd say that their roles here are equally important, despite the latter's below-title billing (though he's not interesting as a straight man, and I obviously prefer him when he goes over-the-top). Well, that's basically it - somehow, I felt that this one fell below the standard of the other films I've watched. Apart from the usual plot contrivances (not the least of which is Lugosi mounting an Arctic expedition, with a million-to-one chance of discovering the 'Missing Link', just so he can prove his theory about 'suspended animation'!) and the fact that, once unearthed, the 'creature' is given very little to do, the film suffers from listless pacing - where everybody apparently takes his sweet time about everything (witness Lugosi's calm and composed reaction at the Ape Man's escape from his laboratory, or the sheer amount of time it takes two cops to break down the door to the lab at the climax) - which really drowns any effort to get involved in the story!

I truly wanted to enjoy this one for what it was and not examine it unduly but the script was so lazy and the handling so uninspired that it was awfully hard for me to excuse its deficiencies simply because it was Poverty Row stuff. Do you want examples? O.K...although I agree that the best line in the film was the one uttered by Lugosi - "Some people's brains would never be missed" - that very sequence is actually where my heart sank and I knew that it was going to get worse from that point on. Why on earth would Lugosi choose, of all people, his own assistant's future son-in-law as his 'guinea pig'?! As I said, the creature itself did nothing but commute from one house (Lugosi's) to another (Carradine's). Oh, yes...he did give us an unprecedented glimpse of his bare buttocks during his climb out of Lugosi's laboratory window! I have to say, though, that the image of Lugosi chasing the Ape Man into the streets with a blowtorch did put an effortless smile on my face! Worst of all, perhaps, is the hurried way in which the sequence where Lugosi traps Carradine is shot: rather than milk the scene for all the suspense it obviously contains by judicious cross-cutting, the director chooses to shoot it in one bland, medium-shot which, if one blinks long enough, would probably miss it!! Similarly tossed away is the sequence where the Creature (now with Carradine in control) goes back to his house and starts wandering about and even sits down to play the piano; one only has to recall how moving Freddie Jones was (in similar circumstances) under Terence Fisher's direction in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969). Sure, these programmers were made fast and cheap (as were Hammer's, after all) but how costly would it have been for the film-makers to pour some real effort into their work?


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