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EL HOMBRE DE NEANDERTAL
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En un entorno cuya belleza
es difícilmente superable,
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se alza la Alta Sierra de California.
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Paraíso de pescadores,
edén de cazadores.
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Un lugar que la mano
distorsionadora de la civilización
Ho hum horror.
5/10 Professor Groves theories about the brain capacity of Neanderthal man is viewed as heresy by his fellow scientists. To prove his theories, professor Groves experiments with a de-evolution serum. His early experiments on cats results in one turning into a sabre tooth tiger. He then tries the serum on himself where he is transformed into a Neanderthal man and goes on a killing rampage.4 years ago
THE NEANDERTHAL MAN is a rather blah horror film with indifferent performances, grainy black and white photography, and scant thrills. The film was directed by E.A. Dupont, the same man who directed VARIETY, one of the greatest films of the silent period. Apparently, by the time THE NEANDERTHAL MAN was made, E.A. Dupont had slipped down to just another hack director, as which this film is evidence of. Even some much less experienced directors working under flimsy circumstances like this showed more inventiveness than Dupont shows here. The best scenes in the film are those with the sabre tooth cat and the one where the hero finds the photographs of an early experiment Groves had conducted on his deaf mute house maid. Overall, THE NEANDERTHAL MAN looks and plays more like a poverty row horror film from 1943 than a low budget horror/sci fi film from 1953.
Of interest to fifties horror/science fiction movie fans is the presence of a very young Beverly Garland as Nola. Unlike her later films where she played a tough fiesty heroine, she plays the standard frightened female who screams and faints.
The Neanderthal Man (1953) **1/2
6/10 An ultra-cheesy '50s monster flick in which we get to see Robert Shayne (Inspector Henderson from TV's 'Adventures of Superman') shamelessly recite hilarious dialogue and feverishly overact as a dedicated mad scientist who's found a way to reverse the evolutionary process! It's the treat of the film to watch him rant and rave about his idiotic theories without applying the brakes. First he turns a common house cat into a fierce saber-toothed tiger utilizing close-ups of a fake model; later, he jabs himself with a serum that transforms him into the title character. You've got to get a load of this ape-man's face; it's one of the most ridiculous-looking of all film monsters, like an over-the-head mask you'd buy in a Halloween shop, and it's completely expressionless with a muzzle and set eyes that don't move. For his creature, the filmmaker should have chosen to stay with the crude third or fourth stage appliances during the chintzy transformation sequence. A real hoot, and a good deal of fun if you go for these types of movies. We also get to see a young Beverly Garland in the cast, although a double is used in a sequence where she dons a bathing suit and models for a photographer. **1/2 out of ****4 years ago
5/10 Neanderthal Man, The (1953)4 years ago
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Poor horror film about a mad scientist (Robert Shayne) trying to bring man back to the stone age. He turns his pet kitten into a saber-toothed tiger, he then injects himself with his magical serum and turns into the title character. This film only runs 78-minutes but it felt like three hours considering not too much ever happens. The neanderthal man looks silly but the makeup is certainly memorable. The only problem is that he's not on screen enough. Some of the close ups of the tiger gets a few laughs since you can tell it's just a toy. It's also interesting that most horror films from this period try to play the scientist in a sympathetic view point but that's not the case here. The scientist here has got to be the biggest jerk ever to grace a horror film.
A Mad Scientist's rantings are now considered accurate!
4/10 A most interesting and weakly executed Sci-Fi diversion, where we have a somewhat unbalanced scientist proposing a theory that brain size is indicative of intelligence. A theory laughed at by fellow scientists in this film, but now recognized as accurate.4 years ago
Of course, in the film, the scientist promotes as fact that brain size of the neanderthal is perhaps even larger than modern man, when it was not. That's the flaw here, but still we get to see him revert himself back to a neanderthal with violent tendencies, probably also pretty far-fetched. I'd expect a neanderthal in today's world to be more bewildered and frightened than overtly violent for no reason.
Also of notable fun is the "reversion" of house cats to sabre-tooth tigers. Pretty unlikely as they're not really evolutionarily that closely related in any line. But still fun and in one case, ironically deadly.
This is mild low-budget 1950s science fiction, short enough to not be tedious, although the excessively prose dialog is annoying. It's almost like writing in a period stage-drama style of the 1900s, and applying it to a 50s B-movie.
While merely okay, this film could have been so much better in the hands of Jack Arnold and the sci-fi effects wizards at 1950s Universal-International. Oh, wait, I just remembered they did it as Monster on the Campus.
Bigger doesn't always mean smarter
6/10 ****SPOILERS**** In the "Neanderthal Man" Robert Shayne, Prof. Clifford Groves, plays a somewhat whacked-out scientist who's obsessed in proving his theory of "Devolution". In that man has actually devolved not evolved from pre-historic times to today where his brain is about a quarter the size of the brain of the Java Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal Man.4 years ago
At the Naturalist Club Prof. Groves is almost laughed off the platform by his colleagues for saying that and in a fit of anger and indignation he tells them that their nothing but a bunch of ingrates and mental midgets and that a man of his brilliance is too good to have anything to do with them.
Back at his home in the High Sierra Mountains Prof. Groves goes to work in his lab to prove that he's right and make those anthropologists at the Naturalist Club who made a monkey out of him and his theories pay for what they did by showing those fools just how right he was and is. Making a cave women out of his housemaid Celia, Tandra Quinn, with a serum that he developed he next turns his house cat into a large and vicious saber-tooth tiger who breaks out of his lab and causes havoc in the countryside by killing the local farmers livestock.
All this attracts Dr. Harkness, Richard Crane, a L.A paleontologist who with the insistence of local game warden George Oakes, Robert Long, goes up to the High Sierra and hunts down and kills the big cat.
Getting Prof. Groves to go with them to identify the tiger it somehow disappeared. Obviously Prof. Groves found the dead saber-tooth tiger earlier that morning and hid it in order not to have his secret experiments exposed.Prof. Groves is so obsessed with his experiments that he completely ignores his bride-to-be Ruth, Doris Merrick, who came to visit him as he buries himself in his work in the study on the size of the human and pre-human brain.
Later Prof. Groves injects himself with his serum and turns into a Neanderthal Man but instead of getting smarter he gets more wilder and goes out in the range and kills a number of campers and hunters. Prof. Groves doesn't even look like a Neanderthal Man he looks more like an extra from the movie "Planet of the Apes".
Robert Shayne really overdid the mad scientist act and was so off the wall and unstable in many scenes in the movie that it made you wonder why nobody in the film noticed just how insane he was and didn't call the police or park rangers to have him taken away and locked up in a hospital room before he hurt himself or anyone else.
Later Dr. Harkness enters Prof. Groves lab and sees a number of cats in cages and vials of serum and injects one of the cats with it that it later turns also into a saber-tooth tiger. Prof. Groves is hunted down and shot by a sheriff's posse in the hills but escapes only to be attacked by the tiger who ends up killing him. After Prof. Groves dies he turns back into a modern day civilized human being from the pre-historic brute that he was.
It's a shame that Prof. Groves had to learn the hard way about his theory of brain size that bigger doesn't always mean smarter.