The Monster and the Girl (February 28, 1941)
Cast: George Zucco as Dr. Parry
Ellen Drew as Susan Webster
Robert Paige as Larry Reed
Paul Lukas as W.S. Bruhl
Joseph Calleia as Deacon
Onslow Stevens as J. Stanley McMasters
Philip Terry as Scot Webster
Written by Stuart Anthony
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Plot: Susan Webster moves to the big city but becomes the prey of gangster W.S. Bruhl. After his brother Scot is set up for a murder he didn’t commit and executed, his brain becomes the property of mad scientist Dr. Parry, who transplants it into the body of a gorilla, who then goes on a quest to seek revenge for his murder and to protect his sister.
Richard’s Review: This is an odd one. For most of the film, it’s almost like a noir thriller about a small town girl who falls in with the wrong crowd. In fact, the mad scientist part almost seems thrown in at the last minute. Zucco doesn’t have a big role and once the brain transplant is over, he almost vanishes into the background. Oddly enough, I found this movie to better than most consider it to be. It’s not much of a horror movie but the story intrigued me enough to make it an enjoyable rewatch. It should be low on the list for both Universal and Zucco completests but worth checking out.
- The Monster and the Girl was produced by Paramount Pictures but its distribution rights were sold to Universal after the initial theaterical run. While it was never part of Universal’s Shock or Son of Shock television packages, Universal has handled its home media releases.
- The Monster and the Girl debuted on Turner Classic Movies in December 2018 courtesy of guest programmer John Landis.
- Stuart Hesiler would continue to direct until his retirement in 1964. This was his only horror or thriller genre film.
- This was the next to last writing credit for Stuart Anthony. Out of his 54 credits, the only other genre films were Charlie Chan in London (1934) and Charlie Chan in Paris (1935). He died in 1942 at the age of 51.
- Ellen Drew had the lead role for the movie and earned more horror recognition with her roles in The Mad Doctor (1940) and Isle of the Dead (1945), as well as appearances on Science Fiction Theatre in 1955.
- Robert Paige also starred in Son of Dracula (1943) and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953).
- Paul Lukas also starred in Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Ghost Breakers (1940) with Bob Hope and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).
- Joseph Calleia starred as Dr. Nicholas Moryani in Lured (1947), which also featured George Zucco and Boris Karloff.
- Onslow Stevens also starred in Life Returns (1935) and Them! (1954).
- Gerald Mohr played gang member Munn. He is also remembered for his roles in The Angry Red Planet (1959), Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941), numerous television appearances and as the character of Michael Lanyard in the Lone Wolf series.
Availability: The Monster and the Girl is available on DVD as part of the Universal Vault Series and on Blu-ray in the Universal Horror Collection Volume 7.