The Gorilla (partially found Bryan Foy murder-mystery film; 1930)

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The Gorilla, 1930.jpg

The theatrical release poster of The Gorilla (1930).

Status: Partially Found

The Gorilla is a comedic murder-mystery film directed by Bryan Foy and released in 1930.


The plot follows a gorilla as he escapes from a local zoo and has committed a murder. Police are on the scene, and are investigating the crime at hand. Often times the only hints that the gorilla committed the murder was when its shadow is cast at the scene of the crime.

Two detectives on the case, Garrity (played by Joe Frisco) and Mulligan (played by Harry Gribbon) are hired by a wealthy businessman who goes by the name Stevens (the actor is unknown, only going by "Maxwell") to protect him from the gorilla. As a note supposedly written by an anonymous assailant (who is said to have let the gorilla escape in the first place), he threatens the businessman that the gorilla will arrive at his house prior to midnight. Stevens lives with his ward/guard, Alice (played by Lila Lee), who is in love with a similarly wealthy man named Arthur (played by Walter Pidgeon). Garrity and Mulligan stand guard outside the house until close to midnight, yet don't end up seeing anything suspicious throughout the time they're outdoors.

Then, Mulligan decides that if they're going to catch the gorilla, one of them needs to become one. So Mulligan persuades Garrity to put on a gorilla costume, wearing a white ribbon fastened around his neck so that anyone hunting the gorilla doesn't mistake him and shoot him dead. While Garrity, now wearing the costume, searches for the gorilla, it appears and starts chasing a terrified Mulligan. It is at this point where the gorilla notices Garrity, strung up a tree, where he then yanks off the white ribbon around his neck so that he can roam free, not being hunted as it is now Garrity who looks like the real Gorilla. Garrity then finds himself stuck in a bad situation, as he is unable to pull off the gorilla mask. He eventually gets his head off, to the disappointment of the hunter shooting at him, and runs off. It's at this point where inconspicuously, Arthur turns out to be an undercover detective, who all this time has been finding evidence to prove that it was actually Stevens who committed the murder. Stevens is then arrested and taken to jail.


This movie was first released on November 2nd, 1930, and was later distributed by Warner Bros and First National Pictures. Even though at the time both of these companies were quite large within production, being the two most popular and heavily favored studios, the film was lost and later fell into obscurity. It was only in 2013 where it was rediscovered, and a 28-second snippet of the Gorilla (supposedly being in a dream sequence) was released (there are also only three photos of the movie online).

Today, no known copies exist, although its thought that certain private collectors (of which are also thought to have other lost movies, some of which are popular like London After Midnight) may have a copy.


A 28 second snippet of the film.
Still from The Gorilla.

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