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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Return of the Ape Man (1944)

Monogram Pictures released low budget films between 1931 and 1953 until they completed a transition to the name Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.  When the Monogram logo appeared on screen, everyone knew they were in for action and adventure.  Return of the Ape Man is a classic "mad scientist thaws out a prehistoric man and brings him back to life" story.  Fortunately it stars Bela Lugosi and John Carradine as the two scientists at the center of this drama.  It's not Lugosi' best performance but it's certainly not his worst either.   If you're a fan, you gotta see it.  Carradine is stronger in the beginning but when he's tied up by Lugosi toward the end of the film the scene is quite laughable.

The biggest problem with Return of the Ape Man is the ape man.  It looks like a modern guy in a cheap costume that could have been bought at a Halloween store.  The make up is minimal and even by 1940's standards they had to have an idea of what a prehistoric man looked like...this isn't it!  There's no change of posture, no over-sized brow.  It's frustrating.  The soundtrack is also very generic and could have been [and probably was] used for a number of other films containing action/adventure elements.

Still, Return of the Ape Man is not a total loss.  The stars are worth watching just to see more of their body of work as actors.  As long as your expectations are not too high, you might enjoy this one.

RATING: Fair.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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