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Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla

USA 1952
produced by
Maurice Duke, Herman Cohen (associate) for Jack Broder Procuctions
directed by William Beaudine
starring Duke Mitchell, Sammy Petrillo, Bela Lugosi, Charlita, Muriel Landers, Al Kikume, Mickey Simpson, Milton Newberger, Martin Garralaga, & as gorillas Steve Calvert, Ray Corrigan (= Ray 'Crash' Corrigan) (allegedly)
written by Tim Ryan, with additional dialogue by Edmond Seward, Leo 'Ukie' Sherin, music by Richard Hazard, songs by Walter Hirsch, Fred Rose, Nick Therry

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Having accidently left a plane during flight (thank god they had parachutes), nightclub comedians Duke Mitchell & Sammy Petrillo find themselves stranded on a tropical island paradise somewhere in the pacific. Here Duke soon finds a beautiful girl, Nona (Charlita), the American-educated daughter of the chief (Al Kikume), & before long they fall in love. Sammy meanwhile has caught the eye of Nona's sister Saloma (Muriel Landers), but due to her rotund figure he feels less than flattered.

Soon the 2 learn that on the island, there is a white man living in a spooky castle, Doctor Zabor (Bela Lugosi), who makes experiments in reversing the evolution, & who is also in love with Nona (unrequitted). Oh, & secretly, he's quite mad. Eventually, Zabor learns that Duke & Nona are not only in love, they even talk about marriage, so he turns Duke into a gorilla (played by Steve Calvert) & keeps him in a cage. But sammy finds out, frees the gorilla, brings him to the natives, & persuades them to fight Zabor, but before the fight can even start, Zabor shoots Sammy & ... Sammy wakes up, back in New Jersey, where his & Duke's nightclub act is about to start. & wouldn't you know it, everybody in his dream turns out to be somehow connected to his dream.


Despite Bela Lugosi featuring prominently in the title, the real stars of this film are Duke Mitchell & Sammy Petrillo, 2 nightclub performers specialized in impersonating Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis (respectively. This should remain their only film, shortly after they were sued by (the real) Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis for plagiarism (even if in all fairness the early Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis films were more than a little inspired by Bing Crosby & Bob Hope in the Road to-series). & while Duke Mitchell is no Dean Martin in either singing or lazy but cool & always ironic screen presence, Sammy Petrillo is really every bit as annoying & unfunny as the real Jerry Lewis, but by & large, the chemistry between Mitchell & Petrillo is just missing.

The film itself is a cheapish, rather childish jungle comedy, that by & large wastes Lugosi in another mad scientist role & fails to deliver any real laughs. Not good, but on the other hand not much worse than some of the weaker Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis films.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD