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on April 15, 2004
At first glance this minor 1941 Paramount feature looks like it really can't make up its mind if it is a Courtroom drama or a horror feature. The film has two distinct parts to it with an abrupt change in direction a little under half way through, however that doesn't stop it from being a quite enjoyable 70 minutes of viewing. Looking like a Universal feature from the time when that studio was still the leader in the horror field, it is instead a Paramount feature which perhaps explains the attempt at some deeper characterisations and a more polished look to some of the special effects, in particular in the "Monster' of the title which here is a murderous Gorilla that has a wrongly convicted man's brain transplanted into it. The first part of the film contains a well acted murder trial while the second half goes off totally into the realm of horror fantasy as the Gorilla thinking like the convicted man, goes on a murderous rampage against those who falsely framed him for murder.
"The Monster and the Girl", tells the story of brother and sister Scot and Susan Webster (Phillip Terry and Ellen Drew), who live in a small midwestern town. Susan yearns for the bright lights of the city and despite warnings from her protective brother, heads off in search of a more exciting life. What she gets in New York is not exactly what she bargained for as she is romanced by smooth talking Larry Reid (Robert Paige) who's intentions are not as sincere as they first seem. Going through a sham marriage to Larry Susan finds herself at the mercy of a prostitution and white slavery ring headed by ruthless gangster W.S. Bruhl (Paul Lukas),from which there seems no escape for her. Coming to her rescue Scot tries to track Larry down and in the process stumbles onto Bruhl's headquarters just as they are about to "remove", one of their group who is as Bruhl states "My favourite thorn in my side". He is shot just as he opens the door for Scot and when the gun is thrown at him Scot mistakenly picks it up and is then blamed for the murder. Totally framed he goes on trial and at length is found guilty of the crime. In the courtroom there is another individual with an interest in Scot , Dr. Perry (George Zucco) who is an eccentric scientist currently working on certain evolutionary theories and seeing that Scot is to be executed seeks his permission to use his brain in his experiemnts. After Scot's execution he performs the operation and transplants the still living brain into the body of a Gorilla in his lab. However during the observation period the Gorilla now thinking like Scot manages to escape and begins a murderous cycle of revenge against those that wrongly framed him for murder and sentenced him to death starting with the District Attorney. One by one the gang are literally crushed to death by the murderous Gorilla and the police are at a loss to explain the cause of death. Only after the Gorilla succeeds in saving Susan from the clutches of Larry Reed by murdering him before being shot himself in the finale is it worked out that the monster has the mind of Scot and was enacting this revenge just as much for the shame brought on his sister as for his own wrongful execution.
Perhaps "The Monster and the Girl", can be viewed as "B" horror nonsense however the whole story is played in a very serious manner by all cast members and certainly the Gorilla is a vast improvement on other "ape" monsters used in earlier horror efforts. The actor within the ape suit does a wonderful job of copying a Gorilla's movements and visually it has a convincing and at times almost frightening demeanour to it. Performances throughout this little effort are uniformally fine. Phillip Terry despite only appearing in the first half hour of the story does a convincing job as the loyal brother seeking to assist his sister but who gets involved way over his head and winds up executed for a murder he didn't commit. Ellen Drew as Susan has the longest role in the film and is also excellent as the naive girl trapped in the clutches of Bruhl's prostitution ring. Horror veteran George Zucco despite his high billing in the cast list, has a relatively small role in the middle of the film as the scientist who transplants Scot's brain into the Gorilla. An actor always so much better than most of the material he had to work with ,here he plays the "mad scientist" role capably once again and his knowledge is vital in the conclusion in working out why this Gorilla has human thoughts. What perhaps is most interesting in "The Monster and the Girl", is the surprisingly modern openess it has when dealing with such issues as prostitution and white slavery that were largely unheard of in the more major releases in the early 1940's. This gives the film , certainly in the first half, less of a horror film mood and more of the feel of a 1930's Warner Brothers gangster drama. The film is beautifully shot for a "B" effort with great emphasis placed on the power of shadows to achieve the desired dramatic effect. Directed with a sure hand by Stuart Heisler the film despite its dramatic change in direction never lets up on the action and its short 70 minute running time ensures that the story doesn't drag in the least.
While certainly not the greatest horror effort from the 1940s, "The Monster and the Girl", makes worthwhile viewing. The Gorilla is one of the more memorable "killers" that movies produced in this decade and depite the obviously outlandish storyline the sincere performances and overall good quality production make up for viewers having to totally suspend belief to get involved in the proceedings. Watch out for the Gorilla with a man's mind bent on revenge in Paramount's curiosity "The Monster and the Girl".
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on February 26, 2007
the monster and the girl is a very strange but

good movie from the classic monster era. univeral

released but it was made by paramount. it has the

same elements of the universal classic monsters but

added film noir type film with gangsters and it's

actually a very good movie. the title makes it seems

more hokey than it is. the story and acting are quite

good and you have george zucco in it as the mad doctor!

i was suprised and it's one of my favorite of the genre.

if you liked murder at the zoo or film noir movies you'll

love this one too! very well made and entertaining.
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on August 22, 2013
This is the release I've been waiting for. This film is, at best, second tier. Yet I liked the story of a man who wreaks vengeance after he's been executed for a murder he never committed and his brain is transplanted after his execution into the body of a gorilla. The premise is silly, but, for me, affecting, and the acting surprisingly good. Call it a guilty pleasure.
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on September 27, 2014
The plot of the movie is well described by other reviewers, but surprisingly you might find yourself feeling sympathetic for the gorilla and the girl. Not so surprising to me was that the dog who somehow telepathically knows who the gorilla really is, steals your heart. Absolutely an excellent movie, well worth the price, and worth watching again from time to time.
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on July 25, 2014
I have purchased many dvd-r discs from Warner, Fox and Universal before. "The Monster and the Girl"is the first one I've purchased that will not playback on any of 3 dvd players or my blu-ray player into which I loaded it. This is not a bad review of the movie, but the defective pressing of this title, as I see one other customer review that confirms the same problem.
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on January 2, 2014
This is a very unusual movie. It deals with prostitution, white slave trade, double-dealing and a gorilla with a man's brain. If you can't have some fun with this movie you're just an old crab.
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on January 25, 2013
This is a fun Paramount horror film that has been on my "I hope it comes out on DVD" list for years. The movie is enjoyable, but don't expect it to be as good as a classic like DRACULA or FRANKENSTEIN. If you enjoy films like THE BRUTE MAN or CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN, you will enjoy THE MONSTER AND THE GIRL. So why only one star? The DVD has audio drop outs starting at 8 minutes into the film. Universal and Amazon are aware of the issue, but the problem has still not been fixed. It starts in the beginning courtroom scene where the prosecutor is saying the word "fingerprints" but you only get to hear "finger..." It continues from there with frequent audio dropouts. It is a problem wit the DVD because the old VHS tape does not have these flaws. If you must have the film on DVD, then buy it, but beware that the static dialogue is annoying!
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VINE VOICEon September 28, 2014
A strange movie. In this one an innocent man is executed for one heck of a good frame-up. Once he's dead a scientist places his brain into the body of a gorilla. The now-monster of this film makes it his mission to eliminate each of the people who helped frame him and take advantage of his sister (the girl of the title). A surprisingly good movie for its genre and time.
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on November 15, 2012
Monster And The Girl is a B movie with A production values.
Direction,photography and production design are all first rate;the film looks
stunning.This is a most interesting hybrid of Noir and Horror genres and played
totally straight by a great cast.

Although originally a Paramount film this Universal Vault DVD is beautifully presented
and film has a strange dream (nightmare?) like quality throughout.

This is everything a B movie should be and gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
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on April 27, 1999
2 1/2 stars. Film starts as melodrama with a girl getting involved with a white slavery ring then veers into horror when her avenging brother has his brain transplanted into a gorilla who then goes after the villains. Wild stuff with an interesting cast: Paul Lukas, George Zucco, Joseph Calleia, Rod Cameron, et al.
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