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The Hairy Ape (1944)

Approved | | Drama , Film-Noir | 2 July 1944 (USA)
During the 1940s, social class conflict is depicted when a spoiled socialite, traveling on a freighter, calls the ship's head stoker a hairy ape, provoking him into stalking the rich woman once ashore in New York.


Alfred Santell


Eugene O'Neill (play), Robert Hardy Andrews (screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: Alan Ladd, Loretta Young, Susan Hayward


Complete credited cast:
William Bendix ... Hank Smith
Susan Hayward ... Mildred Douglas
John Loder ... Tony Lazar
Dorothy Comingore ... Helen Parker
Roman Bohnen ... Paddy
Tom Fadden ... Long
Alan Napier ... MacDougald, Chief Engineer
Charles Cane Charles Cane ... Gantry
Charles La Torre Charles La Torre ... Portuguese Proprietor


Hank Smith, a brutish stoker on board a freighter, is appalled when Mildred Douglas, a society girl forced by circumstance to travel as a passenger, visits the stokehold and recoils at the filthy, sweating Hank. A powerhouse of a man with a primitive confidence, Hank has never been looked down on before nor suffered the insult "hairy ape" flung at him by the rich girl. At first he seeks vengeance for the insult, but broods over it until more than anything, he desires to understand it. When the ship reaches port, he seeks her out in her upper class surroundings, determined to grasp the meaning of the encounter. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"I GOT A WOMAN ON MY MIND...and she ain't good!" See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

2 July 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pasión salvaje See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mayfair Productions Inc. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


Mildred Douglas: Get away from me. Don't touch me, you ape. You hairy ape!
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User Reviews

Too shouty
22 March 2010 | by AAdaSCSee all my reviews

Hank (William Bendix) is a coal stoker on a ship that travels between New York and Lisbon. He is brutish, shouts a lot and enjoys fighting. When he has an encounter with Mildred (Susan Hayward) who calls him a "Hairy Ape", he is so enraged that he wants to square things with her. They land at New York and Hank traces her and confronts her in her apartment. Can they resolve their differences?

The film is much better in the second half as we see more from Susan Hayward's character. She takes the acting honours in the film. The scenes between her and Bendix are emotionally charged and she portrays an unlikeable wealthy spoilt brat very convincingly. Dorothy Comingore is also good as her friend Helen, who finally abandons her after Mildred's appalling treatment of her friend, Tony (John Loder). Bendix is good in the lead role but this film is ultimately let down by the noise levels. The shouty dialogue is very annoying and the film is occasionally inaudible because of the shouting. Thank goodness for the scenes with Hayward where we can involve ourselves with the dialogue more clearly. The film starts badly with lots of shouting and a fight in a bar that goes on for far too long. Unfortunately, half of the film is delivered in this intrusive way, so it's ultimately just not very good.

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