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. ***.

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