The Hairy Ape
1944
William Bendix, Susan Hayward
and John Loder

 
William Bendix, the dumb ox of dozens of pictures, had his finest role as Hank Smith, "The Hairy Ape", the proud and hulking stoker of Eugene O'Neill's raw and powerful play of the 20's. As usual, Hollywood softened up the original material, added an irrelevant romance, and changed the ending. The culprits were Jules Levey (producer), Alfred Santell (director), and Robert D. Andrews and Decla Dunning (screenwriters). Despite this, much of O'Neill's proletarian theme remained intact in this updated version. Hank Smith's life comes into question after a visit to the boiler room of his ship by a rich, haughty Mildred Douglas (Susan Hayward). He begins to lust after her, but she reviles him and uses him as a pawn. He nearly kills her, but comes to see that she is no different from the girls he has met in dock cafes around the world. Miss Hayward injected the right dose of vileness ino her role as Mildred, John Loder and Dorothy Comingore played upper-deck lovers and other passengers and crew were played by Roman Bohnen, Tom Fadden, Alan Napier, Charles Cane, Raphael Storm and Charles LaTorre. ------Excerpted from "The United Artists Story" by Ronald Bergan, Crown Publishing, New York.
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