The Monster and the Girl (Universal Vault Series)

The original grindhouse double feature, sort of!

Where the heck has THIS movie been my whole life? It's tacky, tasteless, horrifying, stupid, creepy, and utterly baffling. Midway through, it appears as though somebody changed the channel from a pretty good film noir to a pretty good monster picture, too. Mostly, it completely flaunts the Hollywood Production Code! Director Stuart Heisler had been a long-time editor; I think the film ended up clashing with the Code and so he just re-edited it so that it makes so little sense and has such an odd, schizophrenic feel to it that the Hays Office folks were utterly defeated. Way to go, Paramount Pictures! Ellen Drew is a small-town girl who longs for life in the Big City, despite her brother's attempt to dissuade her. Million-dollar Dialog: Sister to Brother: 'Why can't I be like you, Scott? You're happy! You've got your job at the Post Office. Playing organ in church. Your life is full!' Well, our plucky little heroine heads to Manhattan, where she meets a VERY nice guy (um, at the unemployment office, not a great place to meet men, honey) who buys her a popcorn (with EXTRA butter) and so naturally she falls in love with him, and - surprisingly enough, since she's a 'small town girl' they run off quickly and get married. She wakes up the next day to discover she's not only been deflowered, she's been de-husbanded, and now - a ruined woman - she has to turn to prostitution for the syndicate. Yep, Mr. Unemployment Office was working a scam with his buddies to get women involved in white slavery! Way! Well, the church organist brother gets wind of what's going on (don't ask how; never, ever ask how in this movie, it clocks in at 64 minutes but was probably 80 or 85 before the censors and director/editor had to go to work on it) and comes to town looking for the guy who'd (briefly) been his brother-in-law, so the syndicate frames him for murder, he stands trial and - despite sis admitting in court she's a fallen woman - is sentenced to die for his non-crime! WOW! Good movie, but forget it, that one's over. Thanks folks, drive safely, if you enjoyed the show, be sure and tell your friends. As for me, I'm stickin' around for our second feature. In this one, a church organist guy executed for a crime he didn't commit has his body picked up from the prison by mad scientist George Zucco, who sticks his brain into the massive body of a GORILLA to test some sort of theory of advancement of evolution. The gorilla (with sad human eyes) escapes and goes on a rampage, crushing the soul (and the spine, and the kneecaps, and the spleen) of each of the gangsters who had made a patsy out of his sister. The gorilla is aided in this wave of terror by the faithful dog of the church organist, who somehow knows that that's his master's brain inside the gorilla. Yes, really. Who can even THINK UP a movie like this? I mean, seriously? The gangsters are all primo, grade-A B-movie gangsters, too, including Paul Lukas, Joseph Calleia, Marc Lawrence, and Gerald Mohr, and even if you don't recognize some of the names, you'd know the guys. Onslow Stevens is the D.A. (the ape kills him first, for practice I guess, but it's done off-camera, one of the cuts, no doubt). Rod Cameron is a journalist interested in the case and the fallen sister, although everything between them was edited out, too. Edward Van Sloan has about one line in this thing, and so do Cliff Edwards and Bud Jamison(!), and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Bing Crosby and Bob Hope were the stars but that all of their scenes were cut out. The editing blend includes the film being set up by Miss Drew recanting the tale in flashback, and then going to the flashback, which then goes to a flashback and then all the flashbacks are completely forgotten and there's no more narration the rest of the way and... I'm sorry, now I'm confused. Million-dollar Opening Narration: I reached so hard for the stars I forgot to look where I was walking.' I'm pretty sure - maybe - that this is either a good movie or maybe it's a bad one. All I can tell you is that it's FASCINATING, and yeah, I watched the darn thing twice. Oh, 'Skipper' plays the faithful dog, and he gets featured billing. Not your typical '40s horror film.' - Psychotronic Video Guide. Ya think?!?!?