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UPC: 089218402592

Format: DVD

Release Date: Aug 27, 2002

Rating: Not Rated

Regular price $13.95 USD
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For a team with no aesthetic or artistic pretensions, the Ritz Brothers certainly complained enough about the vehicles lined up for them by their home studio 20th Century-Fox. When Fox bought the rights to Ralph Spence's warhorse stage mystery-comedy The Gorilla for the Ritzes, they walked out en masse, refusing to work on the picture until their contracts were renegotiated and the script heavily rewritten. The finished product was neither an ideal Ritz Brothers film nor a marked improvement on the three previous versions of The Gorilla, but it does deliver enough laughs and thrills to satisfy the nondiscriminating fan. Most of the Rian James-Sid Silvers script remains faithful to the original play, with an escaped circus gorilla apparently perpetrating a series of murders. Imperiled lawyer Walter Stevens (Lionel Atwill) may well be the next victim, so he summons detectives Garrity, Harrigan and Mullivan (Jimmy, Harry and Al Ritz) to provide protection. It turns out that (a) the murderer is human rather than simian, (b) Stevens is hardly a paragon of virtue, and (c) the person really in danger is young heiress Norma Denby (Anita Louise). The film is topheavy with suspects (Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Joseph Calleia, Edward Norris, Paul Harvey et. al.), and the revelation of the genuine culprit is not as big a surprise as the fact that the three zany detectives are the ones who solve the case! Outside of the standard Ritzy antics-Harry Ritz's impersonation of costar Bela Lugosi is priceless-a few intermittent laughs are provided by traditional comedy-relief players Patsy Kelly and Wally Vernon. Long unavailable for reappraisal, The Gorilla resurfaced on the public-domain market in 1976.
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