Day 25 – Return of the Ape Man (1944)

Return of the Ape Man posterDay 25: Return of the Ape Man (1944)
Cast:      Bela Lugosi as Professor Dexter
John Carradine as Professor John Gillmore
George Zucco and Frank Moran as Ape Man

Written by Robert Charles
Directed by Phil Rosen (Spooks Run Wild)

Plot: Professors Dexter and Gillmore are experimenting with suspended animation and they discover a prehistoric caveman in the ice during an exhibition to the Arctic. Upon thawing him out, they begin the search for a new brain in hopes of controlling him.

Personal Thoughts: Despite the low budget and fantastical plot, I really enjoy this one. Well, as much as one can enjoy a poverty row effort from Lugosi. Lugosi is in his standard mad scientist role and does well enough. Carradine turns in a fine performance as the reluctant scientist working with Lugosi. The script moves along briskly and the use of stock footage helps the film seem less isolated and gets away from the handful of cheaply made sets. Worth spending some time to track this one down.Return Ape Man 1

Trivia:

  • One of the infamous Monogram 9 that Lugosi made in the 40s.
  • Despite its title, it is not a sequel to The Ape Man (1943).
  • George Zucco fell ill after filming started and he was replaced by Frank Moran. However, despite the fact that he appears on screen for only a few seconds (on the slab before the ape man awakens in addition to some publicity shots), his contract kept him as third billed in the movie.

Return Ape Man 2Availability:

  • Watch the clip on YouTube
  • Never commercially released outside of bootleg copies
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