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Der Gorilla von Soho

Gorilla Gang
Ape Creature

West Germany 1968
produced by
Horst Wendlandt for Rialto
directed by Alfred Vohrer
starring Horst Tappert, Uschi Glas, Uwe Friedrichsen, Hubert von Meyerinck, Herbert Fux, Inge Langen, Beate Hasenau, Albert Lieven, Ilse Pagé, Hilde Sessak, Ralf Schermuly, Maria Litto, Claus Holm, Ingrid Back, Franz-Otto Krüger, Eric Vaessen, Catana Cayetano, Käthe Jöken-König, Ingrid Steeger
screenplay by Freddy Gregor (= Horst Wendlandt, Alfred Vohrer), based on the novel The Dark Eyes of London by Edgar Wallace, music by Peter Thomas

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany, Inspector Perkins (Horst Tappert)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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A man in a gorilla suit is abducting several rich men who later turn up floating on River Thames, and besides their wealth, the one thing they have in common is that they all leave everything to the Love and Peace Foundation, a philanthropist organisation that amongst other things supports the nun-run St. Mary's home for wayward girls. Someone though puts a puppet onto all the victims containing messages that lead to the killer, messages written in some African language. So Scotland Yard's inspector Perkins (Horst Tappert), hires an interpreter, Susan (Uschi Glas), to pose as a social worker and investigate St. Mary's. She soon finds out a few things, like that the former boilerman of St. Mary's had been the head of a criminal gang called the Gorillas, whose modus operandi resembles the actions of this gorilla to the t, but he had at one point burned his face badly in an accident and since disappeared. Also, there's a mute African girl (Catana Cayetano) among the girls at St. Mary's, but before she can question her, she disappears, too - and only the audience learns that she's forced to help one of the nuns (Hilde Sessak) to kill all these rich man before throwing them into the river. And her sneaking a doll onto each body is really a cry for help.

Perkins meanwhile learns that the boss of the Love and Peace Foundation Parker (Albert Lieven) is blackmailed by Sugar (Herbert Fux), and following the latter to a brothel, he bumps into Cora (Beate Hasenau), the wife of Parker's deceased brother who has since become a hooker, but who soon sees a golden opportunity to blackmail Parker - something she doesn't survive ... and neither does Sugar by teh way.

Eventually, it's found out that Susan is to inherit a vast fortune from a father she never knew she had, and now she's made captive by the nuns of St. Mary, as it turns out the Mother Superior (Inge Langen) of the place and Parker run a racket together that gets tons of money off philanthropists so they can eventually skip the country and live the rest of their lives like royals. Perkins comes to the rescue but is overcome by Parker and his men, and it's only when Perkins' not so bright assistant Pepper (Uwe Friedrichsen) turns up in a gorilla suit that the tables are turned, and in the end, all the baddies get their just desserts ...

Later German sex star Ingrid Steeger makes an early (uncredited) appearance in this one as a topless waitress in the brothel.

 

Now I don't know what exactly I sat through here, this is a film that's (as a whodunnit) so nonsensical it borders parody, and several scenes are played outright for laughs - like the chief of Scotland Yard (Hubert von Meyerinck) keeping a prostitute in his closet who leans out at the least opportune moments -, and the dialogue is so over-the-top hardboiled thriller 101 one can't really take it seriously. On the other hand, there's also more sleaze than usual here, like the extended brothel scenes that show much topless nudity. And then there's Horst Tappert's very weird performance where one can't tell is he trying to be funny, is he high on drugs, or is he just not a very good actor. Added to this, the story of this is wild and inconsistent and lacking in logic, but that at least one has come to expect from the German Edgar Wallace cycle.

And having said all that, this is not an awful movie, it's very competently put together, and you'll quite probably find much to laugh about here, not always for the right reasons, but it's still a laugh.

 

By the way, a remake of the same director's Die Toten Augen von London/The Dead Eyes of London, from a mere 7 years earlier - talk about the film industry running out of ideas today ...

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD