Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GORILLAS AND GIANT APES ON FILM - A Historical Pictorial (1930's - 1970's)

Gorillas and giant apes were a very popular subject in the movies for a good five decades or so! These days not so much, and I'm afraid the gorilla suit thrill is over, but I think it's time to take another look back! The focus here is on movies with gorillas or giant apes as the main subject matter and/or, films where our large sapien friends were a major part of the story! I'm sure I missed some along the line, but this list is pretty close in my opinion!

1932 - "The Monster Walks"

 1932 - "Murders In The Rue Morgue" with Bela Lugosi

1933 - "King Kong"  
Originally, I was only going to do 'gorilla' movies, but after much thought, I decided  I couldn't possibly leave out the big guys, and that's how it goes!

It only took them 8 months to release a sequel to "King Kong!"

1935 - "Angkor" aka"The Gorilla Woman"
A sleazeball quasi-documentary!

1939 - "The Gorilla" with The Ritz Brothers!
Bela's in there again, and I think this is the first time that the gorilla wasn't taken seriously anymore!

1940 - "The Ape"
 If it was good enough for Bela, it was good enough for Boris!

 1943 - "Captive Wild Woman"
Acquanetta as 'The Gorilla Girl!"

1943 - "The Ape Man"
Bela is back!!

1944 - "Crazy Knights" with Shemp, Billy, and Maxie!

 1944 - "Nabonga!"
Tabonga's cousin?

1945 - "The Monster And The Ape"
A Columbia Pictures serial.

 1945 - "The White Gorilla"

1945 - "White Pongo"
For some reason, in 1945, two movies came out that featured albino gorillas!

1949 - "Mighty Joe Young"
Probably the saddest of all the giant ape movies!

1950 - "Mark Of The Gorilla"
Featuring Johnny Weissmuller as Jungle Jim!

Bela's back again, but this time he's joined by Martin and Lewis wannabes Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo in a full-blown comedy!

The gorilla suit would never be the same after this!

This one is probably my favourite gorilla flick!

Yet another Laugh Fest!

1961 - "Konga"

1962 - "Kingu Kongu tai Gojira
"King Kong Vs. Godzilla"
All bets are off once the Japanese get involved!

"Doctor Of Doom!"

1967 - "Kingu Kongu No Gyakushû"

1968 - "Der Gorilla Von Soho" (The Gorilla Gang)
Written by Edgar Wallace, the original author of "King Kong!"

1975 - "The Ghost Busters" TV Series - Just in case you wondered what ever happened to "F Troop!"
I didn't even know this existed until I started writing this!

1976 - "A*P*E"

 1976 - "Queen Kong"
 Let's not forget about the Queen (Even though we'd like to)!

 1977 - "Xing Xing Wang," "Goliathon," or "The Mighty Peking Man"
So there you go, that about covers it. Yeah, I know I left out the "Planet Of The Apes" movies and a slew of Tarzan movies, but this monkey business had to stop somewhere!


TABONGA! said...

Jeez, that's a ton of ape shit to clean up!!

Lawson Desrochers said...

For some reason I couldn't get the poster for "The Groove Tube" out of my head as I read this epic list. Another great blog post, thanks, guys.

EEGAH!! said...

Thanx Mr. Desrochers, always glad to hear that somebody appreciates the work! Time has been short around here lately, and I did that one to take a break, but it turned out to be even more work than usual! What a big monkey I am! And the link to the "Groove Tube" poster was prefect! That's exactly how I felt when I was done!!!

TC said...

Ray Corrigan played gorillas in several 1940's horror and jungle adventure movies, including Nabonga and Captive Wild Woman. He also played an ape-like monster in the first Flash Gordon serial. He was also a cowboy hero in "B" Westerns, and co-starred in two series, The Three Mesquiteers and The Range Busters.

Captive Wild Woman had two sequels, Jungle woman and Jungle Captive. The plot had to do with a mad scientist who evolves a gorilla into a woman (Acquanetta), but then she reverts into a half-human were-ape monster.

Charles Gemora also played apes in horror films, including Murders in the Rue Morgue and the 1954 remake, Phantom of the Rue Morgue. And he was in the Marx Brothers comedy At the Circus. I'd assume it was either Gemora or Corrigan in that Ritz Brothers movie, too.

George Barrows was in Robot Monster and Gorilla At Large, and in episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies and The Addams Family. I think he owned the gorilla suit that was used in Konga, although he loaned or rented it to them, and someone else played the ape in that movie.

IIRC, Bela Lugosi was also in a movie called Return of the Ape Man, but it was not a direct sequel, and may not have had the same characters. Not sure.

I never saw A*P*E, but I remember ads for it. I assume it was an attempt to cash in on the hype from the King Kong remake. I did see Goliathon (aka Mighty Peking Man), and it was basically an unofficial Kong remake.

There was also an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, "Fatal Cargo," with Janos Prohaska as a rampaging white gorilla. He played apes and monsters in various TV shows, including a Star Trek episode, "A Private Little War." AFAIK, the one time he was credited was a Gilligan's Island episode. But then, Gemora, Corrigan, and Barrows seldom got on-screen credit for playing monsters or gorillas, either.

The Ghost Busters were Spencer, Tracy, and Kong. Tracy was the gorilla. There was an animated cartoon version in the 1980's, after the Bill Murray & Dan Akroyd movie with the same title was a hit.

I've watched way too many gorilla movies!

EEGAH!! said...

I think that fills in all the gaps TC! I'm not sure you can watch too many gorilla movies, because there are too many to watch!

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