The Gorilla

Overview

For a team with no aesthetic or artistic pretensions, the Ritz Brothers certainly complained enough about the vehicles lined up for them by their home studio 20th Century-Fox. When Fox bought the rights to Ralph Spence's warhorse stage mystery-comedy The Gorilla for the Ritzes, they walked out en masse, refusing to work on the picture until their contracts were renegotiated and the script heavily rewritten. The finished product was neither an ideal Ritz Brothers film nor a marked improvement on the three previous...
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Overview

For a team with no aesthetic or artistic pretensions, the Ritz Brothers certainly complained enough about the vehicles lined up for them by their home studio 20th Century-Fox. When Fox bought the rights to Ralph Spence's warhorse stage mystery-comedy The Gorilla for the Ritzes, they walked out en masse, refusing to work on the picture until their contracts were renegotiated and the script heavily rewritten. The finished product was neither an ideal Ritz Brothers film nor a marked improvement on the three previous versions of The Gorilla, but it does deliver enough laughs and thrills to satisfy the nondiscriminating fan. Most of the Rian James-Sid Silvers script remains faithful to the original play, with an escaped circus gorilla apparently perpetrating a series of murders. Imperiled lawyer Walter Stevens (Lionel Atwill) may well be the next victim, so he summons detectives Garrity, Harrigan and Mullivan (Jimmy, Harry and Al Ritz) to provide protection. It turns out that (a) the murderer is human rather than simian, (b) Stevens is hardly a paragon of virtue, and (c) the person really in danger is young heiress Norma Denby (Anita Louise). The film is topheavy with suspects (Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Joseph Calleia, Edward Norris, Paul Harvey et. al.), and the revelation of the genuine culprit is not as big a surprise as the fact that the three zany detectives are the ones who solve the case! Outside of the standard Ritzy antics-Harry Ritz's impersonation of costar Bela Lugosi is priceless-a few intermittent laughs are provided by traditional comedy-relief players Patsy Kelly and Wally Vernon. Long unavailable for reappraisal, The Gorilla resurfaced on the public-domain market in 1976.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Bela Lugosi fans and Ritz Brothers fans -- two groups that do not necessarily intersect -- are likely to be the only ones who really get much out of The Gorilla, a not very successful remake of the "old dark house" chestnut refitted to suit the "comic talents" of the sibling team. Lugosi is indeed a treat, playing a supporting role that gives him ample opportunity to both spoof and play straight his sinister persona. Indeed, the actor seems to be having a fine time playing this undemanding part and gives it much more than it deserves. The Ritz Brothers are decidedly a more acquired taste, perhaps best appreciated by those who find the antics of The Three Stooges to be of too high an order of wit. Most modern audiences simply stare in puzzlement at the Ritzes, but it also must be said that for some there is a strange appeal to them -- almost as if the failure of so many of their efforts at comedy produces a meta-comic result. If you fall in the latter camp, Gorilla is definitely your cup of tea. There's also a solid performance from Lionel Atwill and some shameless scenery chewing from Patsy Kelly, which still can't distract from the baldness of some of the plot machinations or from the fact that many of the comic moments are shoehorned in with little rhyme or reason.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/27/2002
  • UPC: 089218402592
  • Original Release: 1939
  • Rating:

  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Time: 1:07:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 72,347

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jimmy Ritz Garrity
Anita Louise Norma Denby
Harry Ritz Harrigan
Patsy Kelly Kitty
Al Ritz Mulligan
Lionel Atwill Walter Stevens
Bela Lugosi Peters
Joseph Calleia Stanger
Edward Norris Jack Marsden
Wally Vernon Seaman
Paul Harvey Conway
Art Miles The Gorilla
The Harry] Ritz Brothers [Al, Jimmy
Technical Credits
Allan Dwan Director
Harry Joe Brown Producer
David Buttolph Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Lewis H. Creber Art Director
Edward J. Cronjager Cinematographer
Richard Day Art Director
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Rian James Screenwriter
George Leverett Sound/Sound Designer
Allen McNeil Editor
Sid Silvers Screenwriter
Gwen Wakeling Costumes/Costume Designer
Perc Westmore Makeup
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Play [11:23]
2. Chapter 1 [11:26]
3. Chapter 2 [19:24]
4. Chapter 3 [13:01]
5. Chapter 4 [10:34]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Index
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