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A group of scientists tinker with fate, placing the brain of a wrongly executed man into a sympathetic ape.
Scot Webster is on trial for the murder of Wade Stanton. Tips, a bellhop at the hotel where the murder occurred, testifies that he saw Scot holding a gun and standing over Wade's body. When Scot takes the stand, he says that he came into town two months earlier looking for someone named Larry Reed, and was led to a gangster named Bruhl: After Scot seeks out Bruhl to find Larry, Bruhl makes an appointment to meet him at Wade's room at the Regent Hotel, but when Scot arrives, he hears Wade arguing with Bruhl over money. When Wade opens the door, Bruhl's thug, Munn, shoots him, tosses the gun toward Scot and escapes, as Wade falls into Scot's arms. After Tips's testimony, prosecuting district attorney McMasters claims that no such person as Larry Reed exists. Scot's sister Susan demands to be heard and tells her story on the stand: Although Scot is happy playing the church organ and working at their small-town post office, Susan aspires to a more glamorous life and leaves for the big city, despite Scot's protest. Unable to find work, Susan meets Larry Reed at the employment agency. Susan falls in love with Larry, a charmer who says all the right things, and hastily marries him after only two weeks. Unknown to Susan, they are married by Deacon, a thug of Bruhl's posing as a priest. On their honeymoon night, a party awaits them at Larry's apartment, and Bruhl's thugs Munn and Sleeper are among the guests. The next morning, Susan awakens alone and discovers that she is being held prisoner by Munn, who now insists that "Larry" is a figment of her imagination. Munn insists that she is in debt for the party and the apartment, and threateningly recommends that she entertain male guests at a low-class cabaret run by Bruhl. On the stand, Susan insists that Scot was only trying to protect her, but McMasters discredits her because of her profession, and the judge declares her testimony inadmissible. Scot is found guilty of murder and is sentenced to execution. Before he is taken from court, Scot looks directly at his enemies and vows that he will avenge himself, while Susan is comforted by reporter Sam Daniels, who takes her home to live with his aunt Della. In prison, an hysterical Scot agrees to allow scientist Dr. Parry to use his brain for an experiment after he is executed. Later, Susan goes to see Bruhl to plead for Scot's life, and is surprised to see Larry among Bruhl's company. Bruhl refuses to assist her, and Sam takes Susan home. After Scot is executed, Parry immediately performs surgery and implants Scot's brain into an ape, who then becomes animated by Scot's thoughts. Recalling the injustice of his imprisonment and death, the ape escapes from his cage and goes on a rampage, first killing McMasters. Bruhl is alarmed by news of McMasters' death, and when Sleeper becomes unnerved by the thought that Scot is somehow meting out his revenge, Bruhl sends him home, but sends Deacon to follow and finish him off. The ape is drawn to Sam's house, where he looks fondly on a sleeping Susan, and is recognized by Scot's pet dog, Skipper. When Bruhl sends Munn to kidnap Susan, the ape murders the thug. Dimwitted homicide investigators Captain Alton and Lieutenant Strickland imagine that Susan is behind the murders, although all of the victims have been crushed to death. Deacon kidnaps Susan, while the ape, followed by Skipper, murders Sleeper at his apartment. Although Sleeper is dead when Deacon arrives, the killer thinks he is only sleeping and shoots him. The ape then kills Deacon and escapes to the roof after the police arrive. Suspecting the truth, Parry arrives at the scene and, seeing the ape on the roof, tips off a policeman as to the identity of the killer. However, the ape overhears him and continues on to Bruhl's apartment, where Bruhl is hitting Susan to make her talk. Outraged that she is being brutalized, the ape crashes through a window. Larry attempts to shoot the ape, but kills Bruhl instead. Larry then unloads his gun into the ape, and the ape kills him. After giving Susan a long, beseeching look, the ape collapses and dies.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1941||Production Date:||
Comm--Video West; UCLA--new; 35mm nitrate; AFI
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Paramount Pictures, Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Paramount Pictures, Inc.|
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