Wednesday, December 04, 2013

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE HAIRY APE (1944) starring William Bendix and Susan Hayward!

You know, at first I was kinda/sorta disappointed. Just like Archie Bunker was when he went to see LAST TANGO IN PARIS thinking it was gonna be some musical-type thing with Gene Kelly dancing around the Eiffel Tower. Can you imagine me settling down in front of the toob with popcorn in hand expectin' some mid-forties comedy with some gorilla loose in a hotel room like in the Three Stooges or somethin', only instead gettin' this "freely adapted" drama that was written by that top-class schmuck Eugene O'Neill??? As anyone with fanabla for brains knows that don't spell anything funtime for a suburban slob like me who has, for quite a long time, tried to steer clear of highbrow art 'n culture unless it was a painting of a nekkid lady or sculpture even.

But hey, I found this 'un good even if it is typical sixties/seventies weekend afternoon tee-vee fodder you used to sit through if only because the station might run some cartoons to fill out the hour. William Bendix plays the coal-stoking Yank, a guy who is quite a brash blowhard himself who certainly is the loudmouth among his fellow shipmates. Yank happens to get into a really "revoltin' development" when rich snoot Susan Hayward, a deb who makes Veronica Lodge look like Moms Mabley, traipses down to the boiler room to get a look at the hoi polloi and is totally revolted by him, calling Yank an ape to his very face. Usually a comment of this caliber isn't anything to rattle a hard-living 'n drinking sorta guy who gets into brawls whenever the insult arises, but this time something really clicks in his brain and makes him a living zombie. And hey, I should know about this sorta malady because although I've been able to toss off the asides many a time, sometimes there are those zings and barbs that catch you when either your resistance is low or your stress is gettin' the better of you, and boy do they stay with you the rest of your sorry life!

All Yank wants is his revenge, or at least an apology, or some sort of "closure" as the fru frus like to call it, and he wants it so bad he even treks to the lady's Manhattan apartment to bash one out of her. The first attempt fails but afterwards...well, I don't wanna spoil things for you but you just might like how THE HAIRY APE ends up, and it doesn't end up the way O'Neill had originally written it which is something I know you'll certainly be glad to hear about!

Bendix is great as Yank and if you're a true blue trodden under type you'll appreciate the desperation and gloom his performance exudes. Susan Hayward looks fabuloso here (the bathtub scene'll bring a whole slew of below the belly button palpitations in any red-blooded reader!) and man, do you wanna bash her face in the way she bitches it up to the hilt. Also be onna lookout for Alfred himself Alan Napier as the chief engineer, and surprisingly enough in 1944 he looked as old as he did on BATMAN a good 22 years later! I guess that means that if you want people to think you look good for your age, start looking ancient when you're twenty and by the time you do get old they'll be asking you for your anti-aging secrets!

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