The Gorilla (1933) Review: Bela Lugosi vs. the Ritz Bros

“A Ritz is afraid of nothing … but … THIS … IS … SOMETHING!”

Synopsis: When a mysterious murderer known only as “The Gorilla” threatens a new victim, bumbling investigators must unravel a complex web of lies in order to apprehend the villain.

The Gorilla (1933) Review Poster
Watch now on Amazon
Calamity Brains:

The Gorilla is one of the sillier Bela Lugosi movies – which, strangely, has little to do with the Ritz Brothers headlining the show. It’s a generic “there’s a murderer in the house” type movie, full of the required secret motives and hidden passageways. The slapstick gags keep the atmosphere light, and the main story is comforting in its predictability.

Since this is the first movie I’ve seen involving them, I’m willing to give the Ritz Brothers the benefit of the doubt and say maybe they’re funnier elsewhere. But their bumbling detectives are uninspired, and their slapstick lacks good comedic timing. I spent most of the movie thinking about the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges, and the Ritz Brothers suffered by comparison.

Everything in The Gorilla has been done better elsewhere, but it’s not an un-fun watch. Bela Lugosi vs. the Ritz Brothers is fairly entertaining, and I enjoyed Patsy Kelly’s Lucille Ball-esque histrionics. The gorilla costume used in the movie is about on par with the one in The Ape, but this primate is much more entertaining. I’m not sure you can really call anyone acting in a crappy monkey suit “good,” but it’s certainly amusing.

Also worthy of note is that for a movie that’s only an hour long, The Gorilla includes a surprising number of plot twists. The last few minutes involved quite a few “wait, what?” moments, which I liked. There are definitely worse cinematic options from the ‘30s.

Calamity Brains’ Rating: C+
Watch now on Amazon

Did You Know 1: The Gorilla (1933)Did You Know 2: The Gorilla (1933)Did You Know 3: The Gorilla (1933)

Calamity Brains

The Codex Mortis Horror Hosts (Ludwig von Stroodle and Calamity Brains) are married and live in West Virginia. Pretty much everyone who sees their cabin agrees that it would be an ideal setting for a horror movie. Their pets include a black widow spider, a smart dog, and a stupid dog. When they aren’t watching horror movies, they can be found at whiskey festivals, Renaissance fairs, and board game nights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *