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Directed by William Nigh
USA 1940

 

Horror legend Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, The Old Dark House, The Black Cat) portrays a kindly doctor who seeks to cure a young woman of polio through injections of human spinal fluid. Of course, spinal fluid is difficult to obtain, particularly as the victim must be alive. When a circus ape escapes and breaks into Karloff’s home, he finds the solution to his problems—or does he? This creepy classic was directed by William Nigh (Mr. Wu, The Mystery of Mr. Wong) and co-written by Curt Siodmak (I Walked with a Zombie, The Wolf Man) and Richard Carroll (Five Came Back), with atmospheric cinematography by Harry Neumann (My Gun Is Quick).

***

Dr. Bernard Adrian is a kindly scientist who seeks to cure a young woman's polio. He needs human spinal fluid to complete the formula for his experimental serum. Meanwhile, a vicious circus ape has broken out of its cage, and is terrorizing the townspeople. Can there be a connection.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 30th, 1940

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Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:03:01.861        
Video

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,209,920,662 bytes

Feature: 19,847,608,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.88 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,209,920,662 bytes

Feature: 19,847,608,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.88 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tom Weaver
• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith
• Poster and Image Gallery (2:45)
• Trailers


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 20th, 2020
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (September 2020): Kino have transferred the Boris Karloff 1940 Monogram Film Corporation effort The Ape to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "Brand New 2K Master". Aside from the stock Circus footage, the image quality is excellent. There are light vertical scratches but the contrast layered and detail is very positive with consistent fine grain. Pretty impressive.

NOTE: We have added 48 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. It's at the mercy of the meager production but all dialogue is discernable and an occasionally rambunctious score by Edward J. Kay (Highway Dragnet) usually more dramatic than the scene deserved. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a two new commentaries. The first is by Tom Weaver, who doesn't pull any punches regarding the 'weakness' of The Ape - he talks about the stock footage of the circus utilized from 1938's Under the Big Top, detailing the poor aspects of this and other Monogram features, star Karloff, writers Curt Siodmak (spelled with a 'K' in Curt in the credits) (Spawn of the North) and Richard Carroll (The Purple Heart) plus much more. He's always fun. The second commentary is by Richard Harland Smith. He talks about the Monogram ranch, many of the bit players, the 'apes in the loose' sub-genre, the reported $2,000-4,000 for the Gorilla suit and he keeps a good pace with amusing and interesting details venturing to Darwin and medical benefits of animal fluids (including monkey testicular implants!). A good job by both - only repeating the "You could be another Henry Fonda" anecdote. There is also an 'image gallery' and trailers - although none of The Ape

The Ape is not premium 40's horror. I think that's a forgone conclusion, but we often like these films for their vintage-genre imperfections. Hey, it has a killer ape terrorizing a small town, and a, well-intentioned, mad scientist (Karloff) - sure, weak on many production features... and it's just over an hour. Perfect for a 'Midnight Movie' or the start of a double feature night with a more polished Universal horror, imo. There is enough to get any vintage horror fan's juices anxiously flowing for a James Whale classic. The Kino Blu-ray has an impressive 1080P image and the two fun commentaries. Keep your expectation modest and you can enjoy this.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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