The Gorilla (1939)

35mm film, black and white
mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic), English

An American comedy horror film directed by Allan Dwan.

Plot Summary

A wealthy man is menaced by a serial killer known as The Gorilla and hires the Ritz Brothers to investigate. A real escaped gorilla complicates matters.


Directed by: Allan Dwan
© MCMXXXIX [1939] by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Twentieth Century-Fox presents
In Charge of Production: Darryl F. Zanuck
Associate Producer: Harry Joe Brown
Screen Play by: Rian James, Sid Silvers
Based on the Play by: Ralph Spence
Photography: Edward Cronjager
Film Editor: Allen McNeil
Musical Direction: David Buttolph
Sound: George Leverett, Roger Heman
Costumes: Gwen Wakeling
Art Direction: Richard Day, Lewis Creber

The Ritz Brothers
Jimmy Ritz (Garrity)
Harry Ritz (Harrigan)
Al Ritz (Mulligan)
Anita Louise (Norma Denby)
Patsy Kelly (Kitty)
Lionel Atwill (Walter Stevens)
Bela Lugosi (Peters)
Joseph Calleia (the stranger)
Edward Norris (Jack Marsden)
Wally Vernon (seaman)
Paul Harvey (Conway)
Art Miles (the gorilla)

Alternative Titles

El gorila – Argentina, Spain
Gorila – Portugal
A gorilla – Hungary
Gorillaen – Denmark
O gorillas – Greece
Le Gorille– France
Kolme sisukasta salapoliisia – Finland
Segure Este Gorila – Brazil
Tre tokiga detektiver – Sweden
Ο γορίλλας – Greece
Горилла – Russian

Extracts included in
La terrible bestia sangrienta (2020)



  • Castle of Frankenstein no.10 p.39
  • Kinematograph Weekly no.1679 (22 June 1939)
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.135 no.8 (27 May 1939)


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.68
  • Censored Screams: The British Ban on Hollywood Horror in the Thirties by Tom Johnson p.156 – note
  • Golden Horrors: An Illustrated Critical Filmography, 1931-1939 by Bryan Senn pp.445-446
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.159
  • New Musical Express 15 January 1983 p.17 – review (On the box by Andy Gill)
  • Sound Films, 1927-1939: A United States Filmography by Alan G. Fetrow p.244