Watching 1939: The Gorilla (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film:  The Gorilla (1939)

Release date:  May 26, 1939

Cast:  Jimmy Ritz, Harry Ritz, Al Ritz (the Ritz Brothers), Anita Louise, Patsy Kelly, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Joseph Calleia, Edward Norris, Paul Harvey, Art Miles

Studio:  20th Century Fox

Director:  Allan Dwan

The Gorilla is a murderer on the lose, and Walter Stevens (Atwill) is warned that he has just 24 hours to live. His niece Norma (Louise) and her finance Jack (Norris) come to visit on the eve of this threat. Stevens hires the Ritz Brothers of the Acme Detective Agency to protect him.

1939 Notes:

  • “The Gorilla” (1939) resulted in the end of The Ritz Brothers’ relationship with 20th Century Fox. The film was delayed when The Ritz Brothers’ father died. Because of this, Fox placed a $150,000 suit against the Ritz brothers for a breach of contract as the film was slated to start production. “The Gorilla” is one of three films the Ritz Brothers were in in 1939.
  • Lionel Atwill was in nine films released in 1939.
  • Patsy Kelly’s only film of 1939.
  • Anita Louise was in six films released in 1939.
  • Joseph Calleia was in five films in 1939.
  • Paul Harvey was in nine films released in 1939.

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Musical Monday: The Goldwyn Follies (1938)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Goldwyn Follies (1938) – Musical #237

The Samuel Goldwyn Company

George Marshall

Adolphe Menjou, Andrea Leeds, The Ritz Brothers, Vera Zorina, Kenny Baker, Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Phil Baker, Helen Jepson, Jerome Cowan, Nydia Westman, Ella Logan, Bobby Clark, Joseph Crehan (uncredited), Alan Ladd (uncredited)
Themselves: Alfred Newman, American Ballet of the Metropolitan Opera
The Goldwyn Girls: Vivian Austin, Lynne Berkeley, Marjorie Deanne, Betty Douglas, Judith Ford, Anne Graham, Jane Hamilton, Evelyn Terry, Gloria Youngblood

Hollywood film producer Oliver Merlin (Menjou) recent pictures have bombed at the box office. Merlin overhears Hazel Dawes (Leeds) criticizing his movie as unrealistic. He hires her, dubbing Hazel “Miss Humanity” to help give his films the human point of view.

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