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Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla

1 rating: -3.0
A movie directed by William Beaudine

The not-very-famous comedy team Mitchell and Petrillo doing their shameless Dean/Lewis impersonation meet Lugosi who promptly injects Mitchell with a serum that turns him into a gorilla. A.K.A. "The Boys From Brooklyn."

Director: William Beaudine
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: January 1, 1952
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla

Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla 1952

  • Mar 11, 2005
Pros: 74 minutes

Cons: $.88

The Bottom Line: lowest of the low

Aw gee, there are a lot of things you can say about this movie but the Epinions filter prohibits the use of most of the adjectives I would use. The two most important factors are - this movies lasts only 74 minutes and I only paid $.88 for it. At a penny per minute, I got screwed.

The other great piece of information is that this is the reported only existing record of Mitchell and Petrillo doing their act. For this alone, I should immortalize it.

Duke Mitchell is a definite Dean Martin wanna be and Sammy Petrillo is his sidekick and Jerry Lewis mimic. Sammy carried all the physical characteristics of Lewis including his whiny voice and inept acting abilities. Mitchell gave an incredibly bad impersonation of Dean Martin.

A mad scientist, a bimbo, two idiots and a monkey
This is a desert island, somewhere, and the ‘boys’ were on their way to entertain the troops as part of a tour. Praise Jesus, don’t ask me how, but Duke told Sammy something about a door on the plane and, sure, you guessed it, Sammy opens the exit door. Like this could happen. Turns out though, lucky Sammy had on a parachute. Duke reaches for Sammy to prevent his fall and - whack - they are in the depths of a jungle.

Out of the trees step the most outlandish group of what are supposed to be natives. After getting my broken ribs taped, I continued watching the movie. I didn’t know you could actually crack a rib laughing. Anyway, the natives cart these boys back to the camp and into the clutches of Nona, princess for a day.

Nona, garbed in a fetching off the shoulder piece that shows a lot of leg, and her father, Chief Rakos, prevent Bongo, the witch doctor, from boiling these guys up as dinner. Too bad. Nona speaks fluent English, she’s been ed-u-kated, as does most of the tribe when they need to.

Much like Dorothy and Toto, Duke and Sammy want to click their heels together and whisper ‘There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home’ but they must resort to visiting the only other white person on the island. That would be Dr. Zabor and Nona works for Zabor.

Of course you can see the plot thicken, as well as my last two brain cells.

Down in the laboratory a monkey plays in her cell
Zabor along with his sidekick Chula, are a-fixin to figure out a way to make things grow. Like BIG. And as they do in these movies, they use the monkey because after all, who would suspect a teeny tiny monkey could cause problems. Wish I could remember that monkey’s name, dang, I think it was Sally. The monkey gets an immediate set of hot pants for Sammy. The monkey obviously has no taste. To add further suspense to the movie, Nona and Duke are making eyeballs at each other and Zabor is madly [well definitely mad as in insane] in love with Nona.

What a tangled web of lust, lies and deceit.

In order to make the competition a little more one-sided, Zabor injects Duke with the monkey/ape growth serum. Right, who wouldn’t miss one the only white men on an island? It’s not like this is NY where there are plenty of white men lolling about.

Wait, it gets worse
Duke, unable to talk and explain who he is does the only thing he knows how to do. He breaks into song to let Sammy and Nona know it is him. Can I even explain how incredibly stupid this is?

To go on would give this movie much more credit than it deserves.

Awards and nominations
None - as if I needed to explain that

Actors and abilities
Bela Lugosi was Dr. Zabor. He has played this role or a like role so many times I am beginning to wonder if he has simply adopted this persona. He was in over 100 movies throughout his career and each one follows this same theme. Maybe it was his physical characteristics that called this out or maybe he just liked old fashioned monster movies. This film was made 4 years before his death in 1956

Duke Mitchell played Duke Mitchell. Having only 6 movies to his credit, this was his second one. The other films were more the gangster type, fitting seeing his given name is Dominico Miceli. I don’t know if he and Sammy toured or performed together other than in this movie. Furthermore, I don’t care. Mitchell obviously had a fixation with Dean Martin. He wore his hair like him and when performing his songs in the movie would use typical Martin moves. His voice wasn’t all that great, no where as deep as Martin’s, and his acting was worse.

Sammy Petrillo played Sammy Petrillo, badly. This was one of three movies to his credit. From all indications, Petrillo is still alive. He was a gaunt and irritating person in the movie, adopting the facial and vocal impressions of his hero, Jerry Lewis. This was back when Martin and Lewis were young, thin, and famous. He stuck with the prat falls and stupid actions of the younger Lewis days and I would say he carried this part off better than Mitchell carried off his Martin impression. The best part of the movie was when Sammy was not on screen.

Nona was played by Charlita. I’ve always been wary of people adapting a one name persona and this is probably why. She has 20 or so movies to her credit, usually playing the part of the native girl, princess or Indian girl. As typical of movies from this era her acting ability is not why she was hired.

Al Kikume as Chief Rakos was a more familiar figure. A lot of movies under his belt usually in the part of a chieftian, native warrior or Hawaiian. Strangely he was born in Kansas so maybe he really did know Dorothy and Toto. Again, this part was less than remarkable but all the parts in this movie fell under that category. Starting his film career in 1933, he did his last feature in 1956, shortly after the release of this movie.

Finally, Milton Newberger, was Bongo, the Witch Doctor. This was his only movie. He had no English speaking parts, occasionally grunting something in whatever language they were trying to emulate. I’m sure he proudly told his parents “I’m gonna be in a featured part in a movie” and they probably spent the entire 74 minutes looking for him. He was buried under a horrible mask the entire time.

This movie was directed by Wiliam Beaudine, writing by Tim Ryan and Edmond Seward. It was also known as Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla, The Boys from Brooklyn and The Monster Meets the Gorilla. I’m not exactly sure who they were referring to when they used the term Monster - Zabor? Mitchell? Petrillo? It was filmed in only nine days with a budget of $50,000. It shows.



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