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Return of the Ape Man (1944)

 -  Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi  -  17 July 1944 (USA)
4.7
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 150 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:
...
...
Prof. Gilmore
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
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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

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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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Release Date:

17 July 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Return of the Ape Man  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Most of the "Arctic expedition" footage is taken from a 1926 Pathe two-reeler, Alaskan Adventures (1926). See more »

Connections

Featured in Lugosi: The Forgotten King (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cheesy mad scientist tale redeemed somewhat by Lugosi
17 June 2000 | by (Murray Hill, NJ) – See all my reviews

RETURN OF THE APE MAN was one of nine films Bela Lugosi appeared for the Poverty Row studio Monogram between 1941 and 1944. In this film, he plays mad scientist Professor Dexter who with the help of his colleague Professor John Gilmore (John Carradine) revives a prehistoric man (Frank Moran) from an ice block. Dexter schemes to kill a modern person to use part of his brain in the newly thawed brute. Thus, the savage ape man will not only become manageable, but he'll have the speech and intelligence to describe his prehistoric life. Why not a WHOLE brain? Because Dexter believes that if he removes all of his subject's old brain, the ape man won't have any knowledge of his former life.

This synopsis suggests the film's silliness. The plot is more coherent than in most of Lugosi's other Monogram films, but it still has its share of inexplicabilities and inconsistencies. Monogram's typically poor production values further enhance the film's cheesiness. The sets are sparse and threadbare. An Arctic sequence where the scientists find the ape man is especially phony looking; one expects the curtain to come down when it ends. The music, consisting of randomly selected stock scores, is dull and often inappropriate, such as a marching band tune during action sequences.

Still, one can derive legitimate pleasure from Bela Lugosi's performance. Ever the trouper, he acts as if he's in one of his Shakespeare productions in his native Hungary and the film is all the better because of it. Lugosi emotes his standard mad scientist part with passion and conviction. He delivers such lines as "Some people's brains would never be missed" in his sonorous Hungarian accented voice with an air of sinister elegance. Such a unique delivery elevates his dialogue from stale cliches to arcane parlance. Lugosi fans should savor RETURN OF THE APE MAN.

It's a letdown for John Carradine's fans, however. As Dexter's sane and ethical partner, he just goes through the motions. His performance is so listless that one perversely roots for Lugosi's far more vibrant character when the scientists argue.

Overall, RETURN OF THE APE MAN exemplifies the situation of an outstanding performer (in this case, Lugosi) rising above his unpromising material.


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