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Monday, September 5, 2016

Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla (1952)

Starring Bela Lugosi, Duke Mitchell, Sammy Petrillo, Charlita, Muriel Landers
Directed by William Beaudine
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A pair of nightclub entertainers find themselves stranded on a tropical island, where a creepy scientist is experimenting in reversing the course of evolution.

Most reviews I've read of this picture have identified it as a nadir in Lugosi's career, forced to play off Mitchell and Petrillo, imitators of the better known team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.  But I couldn't disagree more as I think this is a really enjoyable film, and although Petrillo's imitation of Lewis isn't a laugh riot, his earnestness won me over.  Mitchell isn't that great a song stylist either, but his numbers are just fine, and his romance with the lovely Charlita is a highlight of the film.  Lugosi doesn't have much to do, but he gets to play the mad scientist with his usual dexterity and it's a step above his roles for Ed Wood later in the decade.

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