Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952)

Two moron showbiz entertainers parachute onto a remote tropic island. They are taken in by the local tribe (all of whom speak English). The chief’s daughter is a lab assistant to a mad scientist stationed on the island, who is conducting dastardly experiments in degeneration. One of the all-time greats. Bela Lugosi’s name appears in the title, but the real stars are Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo, an AstroTurf Martin and Lewis who even attracted legal attention from Jerry’s lawyers. The film reeks of second tier showbiz desperation catapulted into surrealism. Seventeen-year-old Sammy Petrillo does an eerily spot on impersonation of Lewis, minus any sense of pathos and way more antisocial. Petrillo went onto appear in The Brain That Wouldn’t Die and Doris Wishman’s Keyholes Are for Peeping, in addition to releasing a rare proto-Jerky Boys prank call record entitled My Son, the Phone Caller in 1962. Brooklyn Gorilla was directed by the great William “One Shot” Beaudine, whose auteurist trademark is his distinct lack of style. This is his masterpiece. I find this movie constantly entertaining and hilarious. If you want to see a bad Bela meets a comedy team flick, check out Zombies on Broadway.

IMDB entry

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