The Hairy Ape (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hairy Ape1944

The Hairy Ape (1944)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Despite a few Hollywood compromises, The Hairy Ape remains one of the more artistically successful filmizations of Eugene O'Neill. William Bendix is nothing less than brilliant as ship's stoker Hank Smith, a brutish but sensitive lug who is convinced that his strength is derived from the hair that covers his body. While Hank's ship is docked in Lisbon, the boiler room is visited by the wealthy-but-bitchy Mildred Douglas (Susan Hayward), the mercenary sweetheart of second engineer Lazar (John Loder). Disgusted by Hank's hirsuteness, she calls him a "hairy ape." At first enraged, Hank becomes fascinated by the beautiful Mildred, and before long is openly lusting after her. For her own selfish purposes, Mildred leads him on, laying the groundwork for the disastrous events that follow. In the original O'Neill play, a maddened Hank enters the cage of a circus gorilla, believing himself to be "one" with the huge beast, only to be crushed to death. For reasons that defy explanation, this ending is eliminated from the film, which concludes a discordant note of banality. If for no other reason, The Hairy Ape is memorable for one of the few post-Citizen Kane appearances of actress Dorothy Comingore, here cast as Susan Hayward's rival for John Loder's affections.

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William Bendix
as Hank Smith
Susan Hayward
as Mildred Douglas
Dorothy Comingore
as Helen Parker
John Loder
as Second Engineer Tony Lazar
Alan Napier
as MacDougald
Charles La Torre
as Portuguese Proprietor
Don Zolaya
as Concertina Player
Mary Zavian
as Waitress
George Sorel
as Police Captain
Egon Brecher
as Musician
Gisela Werbiseck
as Refugee Wife
Carmen Rachel
as Young Girl
Jonathan Lee
as Water Tender
Dick Baldwin
as 3rd Engineer
Ralph Dunn
as Head Guard
William Halligan
as Lieutenant
Tommy Hughes
as Doorman
Bob Perry
as Bartender
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Critic Reviews for The Hairy Ape

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

As a whole, the film is most certainly better than average and its ironical ending not without its own value.

November 18, 2020 | Full Review…

The basic character... is particularly well portrayed, both so far as the part itself is concerned and in the interpretation by William Bendix. He imparts to it all the ape-like qualities that could exist in a man in line with the O'Neill play.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Between the lovers of Eugene O'Neill and the lovers of a sexy melodrama, the film just falls with a thud.

November 24, 2020 | Full Review…

One of those films that profits in some tiny but intriguing way from being such a bastardization of the source material.

January 3, 2010 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

The dialogue couldn't be cornier.

May 16, 2007 | Rating: C | Full Review…

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