The Monster And The Girl is the old familiar story of a gangster who is p.o.ed at other gangsters for turning his sister into a prostitute so they frame him for murder and after he’s executed the local mad scientist transplants his brain into the body of a gorilla (because, hey, science!) after which he escapes and goes on a murderous rampage until he kills everyone who did him & his sister wrong.
Once you decide to just roll with it, The Monster And The Girl turns into a surprisingly poignant story. Zipping along at a brisk 64 1/2 minute running time, using every low budget trick in the independent film maker’s book (1941 edition), it manages to become far more than it ever dared hoped to be.
This may be Charlie Gemora’s greatest role in any of the dozens of films he made inside a gorilla suit. He uses body language and extremely expressive eyes to covey the anguish the protagonist feels and his still-human reasoning abilities. If they gave out awards for best performance by a guy in a monkey suit, he should have taken home an Oscar.
Tho released by Paramount, it seems more like an independent production that they picked up for distribution. They don’t make movies like this anymore but I’m glad that when they were making them, they did.