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The Hairy Ape

The Hairy Ape(1944)

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The opening credits for this film read "Eugene O'Neill's prize winning play The Hairy Ape." Although a June 1943 news item in Daily Variety states that O'Neill would write a screen treatment of his play, a July 1943 New York Times news item notes that O'Neill wavered for years about selling the rights to his play. When he finally agreed to sell the rights to producer Jules Levey, he relinquished all control over his orginal work, according to the New York Times news item. In O'Neill's play, the character of "Yank," who is called "Hank" in the film, is crushed to death by the gorilla. Hank's rebellion against society is also more sharply delineated in the original.
       This was Levey's first production for United Artists. Levey had previously worked as a distribution executive. Although a February 1944 news item in New York Herald Tribune stated that Howard Estabrook wrote the screenplay in conjunction with Robert D. Andrews, Estabrook is not credited by SAB and the extent of his contribution to the released film has not been determined. Although Hollywood Reporter news items add Freddie Frink, Eddie Aquilian, Harry Wilson, Phil Bloom, Leo Sulky, Dutch Schlickenmayer, Israel Garcia and Francis Pierlot to the cast, their participation in the released film has not been confirmed. Lucien Andriot was borrowed from Twentieth Century-Fox to photograph this picture. Edward Paul and Michel Michelet received an Academy Award nomination in the Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) category. The film was reissued in 1948 by Film Classics, according to a Hollywood Reporter news item.