The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Not Rated  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  19 June 1953 (USA)
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Professor Groves, an expert in prehistoric life, proves his theories with an extract that'll regress a cat to a saber-tooth tiger and man to a Neanderthal.


(as E.A. Dupont)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Prof. Clifford Groves (as Robert Shane)
Joyce Terry ...
Jan Groves (as Joy Terry)
Richard Crane ...
Dr. Ross Harkness
Doris Merrick ...
Ruth Marshall
Nola Mason - waitress
Robert Long ...
George Oakes
Tandra Quinn ...
Celia - housekeeper (as Jeanette Quinn)
Lee Morgan ...
Charlie Webb
Eric Colmar ...
Buck Hastings
Dick Rich ...
Sheriff Andy Andrews
Danny - townsman
Frank Gerstle ...
Anthony Jochim ...
Skeptical Naturalist
Marshall Bradford ...
Conference Chairman
William Fawcett ...
Dr. Fairchild


Wheeler, a tourist-hunter in the California High Sierras, is not believed by the patrons of Webb's Cafe when he claims to have run across a live tiger with tusks. Among the scoffers is game-warden Oakes - until he is driving home later that night and the critter hops on the hood of his car. Oakes convinces a skeptical Dr. Harkness, state university zoologist, to come to the small town to investigate. At Webbs', Harkness meets Ruth, fiancée of Prof. Groves who maintains his home and lab outside the town, and thru her meets Groves' daughter, Jan. Groves himself is down in the city, angrily trying to convince the Naturalists' Society of the truth of his theory that the size of skull and brain equate with intelligence, and therefore Neanderthal man was equal, if not superior, to Homo sapiens. He is rejected, and by the time he returns home, seems completely unhinged, rejecting his fiancée and secluding himself in his lab. There, he has developed a serum with which he is experimenting. ... Written by Rich Wannen <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What primitive passions...what mad desires drove him on...? He held them all in the grip of deadly terror...nothing could keep him from the woman he claimed as his own! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Not Rated




Release Date:

19 June 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Homem Fera  »

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Sound Mix:

(Ryder Sound Services)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The saber-toothed tiger's long fangs aren't shown as it's walking around, but does show when he jumps on a car and in other scenes. See more »


Prof. Clifford Groves: The world's gone completely mad. Sometimes I think I'm the only rational being left in it... one person telling a fairy tale and the other one believing it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Even though he has top billing, Robert Shayne's name is misspelled as "Robert Shane." See more »


Featured in Svengoolie: The Neanderthal Man (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Bigger doesn't always mean smarter
19 August 2004 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

****SPOILERS**** In the "Neanderthal Man" Robert Shayne, Prof. Clifford Groves, plays a somewhat whacked-out scientist who's obsessed in proving his theory of "Devolution". In that man has actually devolved not evolved from pre-historic times to today where his brain is about a quarter the size of the brain of the Java Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal Man.

At the Naturalist Club Prof. Groves is almost laughed off the platform by his colleagues for saying that and in a fit of anger and indignation he tells them that their nothing but a bunch of ingrates and mental midgets and that a man of his brilliance is too good to have anything to do with them.

Back at his home in the High Sierra Mountains Prof. Groves goes to work in his lab to prove that he's right and make those anthropologists at the Naturalist Club who made a monkey out of him and his theories pay for what they did by showing those fools just how right he was and is. Making a cave women out of his housemaid Celia, Tandra Quinn, with a serum that he developed he next turns his house cat into a large and vicious saber-tooth tiger who breaks out of his lab and causes havoc in the countryside by killing the local farmers livestock.

All this attracts Dr. Harkness, Richard Crane, a L.A paleontologist who with the insistence of local game warden George Oakes, Robert Long, goes up to the High Sierra and hunts down and kills the big cat.

Getting Prof. Groves to go with them to identify the tiger it somehow disappeared. Obviously Prof. Groves found the dead saber-tooth tiger earlier that morning and hid it in order not to have his secret experiments exposed.Prof. Groves is so obsessed with his experiments that he completely ignores his bride-to-be Ruth, Doris Merrick, who came to visit him as he buries himself in his work in the study on the size of the human and pre-human brain.

Later Prof. Groves injects himself with his serum and turns into a Neanderthal Man but instead of getting smarter he gets more wilder and goes out in the range and kills a number of campers and hunters. Prof. Groves doesn't even look like a Neanderthal Man he looks more like an extra from the movie "Planet of the Apes".

Robert Shayne really overdid the mad scientist act and was so off the wall and unstable in many scenes in the movie that it made you wonder why nobody in the film noticed just how insane he was and didn't call the police or park rangers to have him taken away and locked up in a hospital room before he hurt himself or anyone else.

Later Dr. Harkness enters Prof. Groves lab and sees a number of cats in cages and vials of serum and injects one of the cats with it that it later turns also into a saber-tooth tiger. Prof. Groves is hunted down and shot by a sheriff's posse in the hills but escapes only to be attacked by the tiger who ends up killing him. After Prof. Groves dies he turns back into a modern day civilized human being from the pre-historic brute that he was.

It's a shame that Prof. Groves had to learn the hard way about his theory of brain size that bigger doesn't always mean smarter.

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