The Monster and the Girl is a 1941 crime science fiction horror film directed by Stuart Heisler from a screenplay by Stuart Anthony. It stars Ellen Drew, Robert Paige, Paul Lukas and Joseph Calleia. Horror veterans Onslow Stevens and George Zucco round out the cast.
The movie was released by Paramount Pictures.
A gangster named Scot Webster (Philip Terry) attempts to save his sister, Susan (Ellen Drew) from the clutches of rival gangster W. S. Bruhl (Paul Lukas). When one of Bruhl’s gang members catches Scot in Bruhl’s rented room, one of Scot’s aides is killed by a gunman. The man tosses him the gun and disappears. Scot is tried and executed.
A mad scientist (George Zucco) salvages his brain and transplants it into a gorilla. Using the strength of his new, bestial body, Webster begins stalking the gangsters to exact his revenge…
‘The first half of this movie is a mess; it’s a complicated, confusing story about a woman who marries a gangster, and trying to sort out the characters is a pain; you really start wondering why it’s considered a horror movie […] However, something very strange happens in the second half; once the brother’s brain is in the body of the gorilla, it becomes almost another movie and a memorable one at that.” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
” …basically what you get here is about a third of a monster movie, and a long wait for it. The monster parts make satisfying viewing, but what it takes to get there…. Well maybe that’s why God gave us fast-forward.” Dan Stumpf, Mystery File
“Monster’s screenplay has some very interesting points, including a mixture of noir and horror which, while not totally successful, offers some rewards, as well as its nimble manner in skirting the Code’s prohibition against prostitution. With one exception, the cast is also much better than one usually finds in horror films of this type.” AllMovie
“Surprisingly well acted, it is also directed with real flair, notably in a sequence where the gorilla (constantly threatened with betrayal by a puzzled dog who recognises his master somewhere in there) stalks the rooftop in parallel with his gangster-prey strolling in the deserted nighttime street below.” Time Out (London)
” …the producers have exhumed the old affair of the scientist and the simian with a transplanted human brain. Whimsically, the lady’s brother provides the brain for the marauding monk, making them relatives under the skin, so to speak, and confusing the family tree no end. Sometimes we can’t believe our eyes.” The New York Times, March 20, 1941
Cast and characters:
- Ellen Drew as Susan Webster
- Robert Paige as Larry Reed
- Paul Lukas as W. S. Bruhl – The Ghost Breakers
- Joseph Calleia as ‘Deacon’
- Onslow Stevens as J. Stanley McMasters – Them!; Mark of the Gorilla; The Creeper; House of Dracula
- George Zucco as Dr. Perry
- Rod Cameron as Sam Daniels
- Phillip Terry as Scot Webster
- Marc Lawrence as Sleeper
- Gerald Mohr as Munn
- Bud Jamison as Jim
- Emory Parnell as Policeman
Related: Going Ape! A Short History of Who’s Inside the Gorilla Suit – article