All of this nonsense was created by Curt (known sometimes as here as Kurt) Siodmak, a scriptwriter and sometimes director who was also responsible for a host of Universals Invisible Man sequels and the likes of Black Friday (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), The Beast with Five Fingers (1946), Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) and the thrice-filmed novel Donovans Brain (1942), among many others. (See below for Kurt Siodmaks other films). Siodmak extremely liberally adapts a play, previously filmed as House of Mystery (1934), which was also made by the same director as this film, but was originally an Old Dark House thriller that featured a gorilla stalking people in a mansion and had the rationale of a millionaire having brought a Hindu curse down on himself.
Curt Siodmak contributes some wonderfully purple dialogue, such as the exchange between the longsuffering wife and her philandering husband: I wish you wouldnt keep going on here where we live. So people would start pitying me ... I have no-one but you. I have no folks, nowhere to go, to which comes his retort You have the river. The film is filled with the typical prejudices of the era against science the townspeople dont like Boris Karloff scientist because he experiments too much. The good, honest Danny opines suspicion: I dont trust anything I dont understand (which considering the way the character is played must be just about everything in the world).
The Ape is directed by William Nigh with little in the way of style. Boris Karloff gives a customarily good performance, balanced between kindly absent-mindedness and cold ruthless dedication to science. Interestingly, he is a much more ambiguous scientist than most of his compatriots from the era someone who is both killer and benefactor.
William Nigh was a B-movie director from the era, perhaps best known for the Mr Wong series of films. He made sporadic other ventures into genre material with other mad scientist films such as Black Dragons (1942) and The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942), as well as the Old Dark House comedy The Ghost and the Guest (1943).
Kurt (or more commonly) Curt Siodmaks other genre scripts include:- F.P.1 Does Not Answer (1932), Trans-Atlantic Tunnel (1935), Black Friday (1940), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Invisible Agent (1942), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), The Climax (1944), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Beast with Five Fingers (1946), Tarzans Magic Fountain (1949), Riders to the Stars (1954), Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) and Earth Vs the Flying Saucers (1956). Siodmak also directed/wrote several films with Bride of the Gorilla (1951), The Magnetic Monster (1953), Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956) and Love Slaves of the Amazon (1957). Siodmak also wrote the classic novel Donovans Brain (1942) about a millionaires disembodied brain that ends up mentally controlling the scientist that removed it, which has been thrice filmed as The Lady and the Monster (1944), Donovans Brain (1953) and Vengeance/The Brain (1962). Siodmaks lesser known follow-up Hausers Memory (1968) about transplanted memories was also filmed as the tv movie Hausers Memory (1970).
Full film available online here:-