Written by: Carroll Jenkins on July 29th, 2010
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1945
Director: Howard Bretherton
Writers: Royal K. Cole, Sherman L. Lowe
Cast: Robert Lowery, George Macready, Ralph Morgan, Carole Mathews, Willie Best, Jack Ingram, Anthony Warde, Ted Mapes, Eddie Parker, Stanley Price, Bud Osborne, Ray Corrigan, Charles King, Kenneth MacDonald
DVD Released: July 27th, 2010
Approximate Running Time: 450 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Cheezy Flicks Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Five elite scientists create the Metalogen Man – a robot who will save the world from both danger and manual labor. An evil scientist has grander schemes in mind, like world domination. And he has a killer gorilla, too.
The first installment of this chapter play nearly delivers what they all promise – a thrill a minute! The robot is of intelligent design, and doesn’t look the usual conglomeration of vacuum cleaner parts. We get gangsters, gunfights, fistfights, abductions, secret laboratories, and death by killer ape. That’s all prior to the first cliffhanger.
Predictably the pace slows down a bit for chapter 2, got to pace to make the long stretch (15 chapters). The robot (‘Monster’) turns out to be the McGuffin rather than a key player. Willie Best starts to get screen time, though his chauffeur character is at once more subdued and more courageous than his usual role; more character than caricature. Still, he gets detained by the police and “They grill’d me like a poke chop”, and he can always be counted on for his patented bug eyed reaction take.
The cast is strong, with the leads comprised of [then] unknowns who would become veteran players with long pedigrees in features and television. The good guy is Robert Lowrey (House Of Horrors), Carole Mathews the love interest, and George Macready the evil mastermind. Ray Corrigan is uncanny in his gorilla performance, though he had lots of practice beginning with Tarzan The Ape Man (’32). For fifties monster buffs, not only did Corrigan portray It! The Creature From Beyond Space, but Eddie Parker is here as well – he played a Mole Man and the Monster On Campus.
The presentation is good, though slightly soft throughout. Some chapters are very good, and some have more blemishes. Chapter three, for example, has significant run lines throughout, where chapter one looks like it may have been digitally scrubbed. The audio is generally very good and dialog is easily discernible except where the bombastic soundtrack overpowers it. Overall this is an above average serial presentation and certainly enjoyable.
The sensational title is intentionally misleading, and the actual sci-fi quota rather low. This is still a disciplined and noteworthy attempt to deliver a respectable product, especially when predestined to be pelted with Cracker Jack by a juvenile matinee audience.