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The Gorilla

USA 1939
produced by
Harry Joe Brown for 20th Century Fox
directed by Allan Dwan
starring The Ritz Brothers (Jimmy Ritz, Harry Ritz, Al Ritz), Bela Lugosi, Anita Lewis, Patsy Kelly, Lionel Atwill, Joseph Calleia, Edward Norris, Wally Vernon, Paul Harvey, Art Miles
screenplay by Rian James, Sid Silvers, based on a play by Ralph Spence

Ritz Brothers

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Walter Stevens' (Lionel Atwill) life is threatened in a letter by the Gorilla, a mysterious killer who always announces his misdeeds (but pulls them through nevertheless), & right at the evening his niece Norma (Anita Lewis) & her fiancé Jack (Edward Norris) arrive to settle some matters about Walter's & Norma's joint inheritance.

Walter however refuses to drag the police into this & rather hires a trio of detectives, Harrigan (Harry Ritz), Mulligan (Al Ritz) & Garrity (Jimmy Ritz) to guard him ... but inept as they are, Walter disappears at exactly the announced hour. The 3 detectives' ensuing investigatins naturally lead to more & more confusion, & soon a real, escaped gorilla (Art Miles) is thrown into the mix, an outraged businessman (Paul Harvey) shows up, claiming Walter tries to cheat him out of his money ... & then there is that mysterious stranger (Joseph Calleia), who, after Walter is found tied up in some secret passageway of the house, claims to be detective Cotelli, while Walter is the Gorilla who tried to trick his niece out of her inheritance ... that is until the detective trio identifies Cotelli as the gorilla, & Walter, it turns out at long last, has acted as an agent for his insurance company, that has been tricked by the Gorilla once too often ...

Bela Lugosi has a rather small red herring-part as Walter's butler, Patsy Kelly plays his maid.


A very routine old dark house mystery-comedy with all the typical elements: sinister butlers, sliding doors, secret passageways, hysterical maids, crooks disguised as detectives, detectives disguised as crooks, a large inheritance, & of course that 1930's pulp mainstay, the gorilla. There's really nothuing special about this movie & the Ritz Brothers - one of the many 1930's comic trios (the most popular trios of this time were probably the Marx Brothers & the Three Stooges) - are not particularly funny in this one ... actually the funniest performance is given by Patsy Kelly playing the maid. Also, Bela Lugosi & Lionel Atwill do rather little to improve the film (mainly because of their too limited roles). & while I've definitely seen worse, it's not really worth your time.


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