Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

THE NEANDERTHAL MAN


THE NEANDERTHAL MAN (1953). Director: E. A. Dupont.

A sabretooth tiger is on the loose in the High Sierras, but Professor Clifford Groves (Robert Shane aka Shayne/pictured) scoffs violently at the very idea. Or doth he protest too much? One old hunter takes the cast he made of the beast’s footprint to Dr. Harkness (Richard Crane) who has a similarly hostile reaction – but his curiosity is ignited and he heads for the High Sierras to investigate. But what’s this? – who is that awful ape-like creature stalking the mountains and tearing up hunters? The make up for the neanderthal man is a bit comical but otherwise not bad. For a cheapie creepy this has rather good acting. Both Doris Merrick and Joyce Terry play with conviction as, respectively, the professor’s fiancee and daughter. Shane spits out his venomous, condescending remarks to his fellow scientists with decided flair, and etches a convincing portrait of a scientist who’s rapidly going cukoo. Richard Crane isn’t much of an actor, however. Beverly Garland turns in her usual professional job as a waitress who is traumatized by the monster. Albert Glasser’s intense score is a big plus. Undoutedly this influenced the later Monster on the Campus which also had creatures and people reverting to prehistoric forms.

Verdict: Late night time-passer. ***.

2 comments:

Gary R. said...

Wow, you rated "The Neanderthal Man" a half star higher than "The Thing From Another World"! As a movie reviewer, you are definitely a rebel. To me, this film can be summed up as a '50s version of a '40s Monogram horror cheapie. However, it does have one memorably strange scene with Beverly Garland. To please her boyfriend on a picnic, Garland goes behind some bushes to change into a bathing suit so he can photograph her. When she emerges, it's a different actress in the bathing suit! After the photos are taken, this actress goes behind the bushes to change back into...Beverly Garland.

William said...

Ha, I don't remember if I noticed the Great Garland Bathing Suit Switch. As for the star rating system, a big, well-produced, more expensive movie that disappoints may get a lower rating than a cheap picture that entertains and you expect less from -- let's just say it ain't an exact science. I don't know if I'm a rebel but I don't always accept the status quo of any movie. In any case, I appreciate your comments!