GORILLA AT LARGE
1954/Directer: Harmon Jones/Writer: Leonard Praskins, Barney Slater
Cast: Cameron Mitchell, Anne Bancroft, Raymond Burr, Lee J. Cobb, Lee Marvin, Warren Stevens, Billy Curtis, George Barrows (as the gorilla)
What is really fun about Gorilla at Large is catching glimpses of a few faces that would go on to bigger and better things. Cameron Mitchell really never rose above b-movies or TV (does anybody out there remember the TV western The High Chapperal) roles in his career but it is cool to see him here being so blasted young. The lithe leading lady is played by none other than Mrs. Mel Brooks herself Anne Bancroft (Mrs. Robinson from the Graduate.) It is really hard to connect the two faces as she is so young, demure and short haired here. She is simply ravishing as the object of the primate’s obsession, and I don’t mean mel Brooks. Lee J. Cobb plays yet another cigar smoking wise cracking cop and Raymond Burr –no stranger to gorilla films, check out Bride of the Gorilla- plays the heavy. The most interesting face to see is that of Lee Marvin, one of my favorite actors, playing the role of a goofy cop named Shaughnessy who can’t keep his eyes opened while guarding Goliath the gorilla. The film was one of 21st Century Fox’s first 3-D films and was made by Panoramic Productions. I had a 3-D AVI version of the film got from online and actually watched it without 3-D glasses. My wife really thought I had flipped my gourd when she looked at the TV and saw the mess of colors floating around. I am looking for a non 3-D version an when I get it I will update my screen captures here. In fact these are not my images, I found them online and edited them a bit but the net is sorely lacking in any good screen captures of this film and I hope to remedy this.
The film is simple whodunit type thriller set in a traveling carnival and sideshow called The Garden of Evil. Anyone could be the killer and of course the most obvious suspects are the ones to eliminate from the get go and the least obvious person becomes the actual killer in the end. I didn’t see it coming but I have to admit I wasn’t even thinking about it as I seemed mesmerized by the red and blues globs of color floating al over my TV screen. You have apes carrying girls around a house of mirrors and to the top pf roller coasters so what more do you want? Okay, shots of Anne Bancroft’s arse over the gorilla’s shoulder? Okay, you have that too. Thanks God for replay and pause right? The gorilla is played by the king of Hollywood apemen George Barrows. Perhaps Barrow most famous role was as Ro-Man the ape with a diving helmet in Robot Monster. Barrows can be seen films sans furry costumes sometimes as well. Check him out as George the male nurse in Mesa of Lost Women sans monkey suit. Small role by one of the great “little people” Billy Curtis. Both Barrows and Curtis will be popping up here and there in future of The Uranium Cafe. This is one of the funnest of the man in monkey suit films and I look forward to seeing it soon without the 3-D effects which really don’t work on a TV screen in my opinion, especially if you do not have the glasses! (Update: I got myself a hard to find color version of the film and put up some great screen captures from that.)
READ MORE BELOW. SHARE IT IF YOU LIKE IT.