The-gorilla-1939-posterIt seems that nobody talks about The Ritz Brothers anymore. At one time they were considered rivals to the Marx Brothers in terms of being a comedy team specializing in chaotic anarchy. One reason they aren’t as well-known today is that they simply were not as funny. The three actual brothers, Harry, Al and Jimmy, did not have distinctive personalities, and their writing was not nearly as clever as that of The Brothers Marx.

Tonight we bring you The Gorilla, from 1939. This was one of the last movies the Ritz Brothers made for 20th Century Fox before relocating to Universal in 1940. They had publicly complained about the poor quality of the script and lawsuits between the Brothers and the studio were exchanged. Aside from the offscreen drama, this is not exactly the Ritz Brothers at their best, but it does have the added curiosity of Bela Lugosi, playing a creepy butler.

Despite the less-than-stellar body of work, The Ritz Brothers were very well-respected by their fellow comedians, being cited as an influence by Jerry Lewis, Sid Ceasar and Mel Brooks, among others. Brooks even cast Harry Ritz in a cameo in Silent Movie, the last film role by any Ritz Brother.