Meet Robert live

Check out
Robert Hood's
Shades series

Buy Immaterial:
Ghost Stories by Robert Hood at Australian Online Bookshop


Re: Lugosi's The Apeman: Directed by William "one shot" Beaudine. Famous for never filming more than one take (always came in under budget!). And for not bothering to direct. Even Citizen Kane would have suffered had Beaudine directed.

Lugosi's career suffered more from his rapidly dated image than from his 'bad' acting. He started off in Hollywood as a romantic lead, and an exotic one at that. Dracula was seen as a perverse love story and advertised as such. But already by then he was no longer young, and the popularity of exotic European lovers proved something of a shortlived fad.

He was in fact a versatile actor, when properly directed, but his dark looks and strong accent narrowed his public image, making him an instant cliche once the male vamp fad had evaporated. Both he and Karloff were sterotyped, but Lugosi's box office potential was considered worthless by the major studios because of his 'obsolete' image. They considered him a has-been even while still co-billing with Karloff!

And let us not forget he was ill when he played the Frankenstein Monster vs Lon Chaney's Wolfman, the critics dismissing his performance 'as if he were blind' when of course the monster WAS blind, but this info wound up on the cutting room floor.

Anyway, Lugosi certainly knew the difference between a 'serious' role and a 'take the money & run' B movie. He also knew most B movies were pretty dull. He had a lively sense of humour and well knew most movie goers like to be entertained. Lugosi didn't act in movies like this one, he just had fun, and shared his fun with the audience.

Sure the film is bad. Lugosi knew that. So he chewed the scenery to give folks their money's worth. With his extensive stage experience it ran against his instincts to bore an audience. Better to make them chuckle.

As for his films, apart from White Zombie, he believed all his best roles -- and acting -- were in the days of his youth, all the films he made in Europe BEFORE coming to America.

Frankly, I enjoy any film with a Lugosi performance, no matter how bad the film, even the excruciating Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla, simply because it's always a joy to watch Lugosi mugging the camera.

Return to Hood Reviews


by R. Graeme Cameron

Written by R. Graeme Cameron in response to my mini-review of "The Ape Man".

This excellent mini-rebuttal appeared on the MonsterFighters discussion group on 15 July 2004.

MonsterFighters Discussion Group

IMDB entry for Bela Lugosi

copyright©Robert Hood 2004

home - the latest - new projects - faq - bio - biblio - scribblings - obsessions - links

Contact Robert Hood: