The Gorilla (1930 film)

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The Gorilla
The Gorilla 1930 Poster.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed byBryan Foy
Written byAdaptation:
Herman Ruby
B. Harrison Orkow
Screenplay byRalph Spence
Based onThe Gorilla (1925 play) by Ralph Spence
StarringJoe Frisco
Harry Gribbon
Walter Pidgeon
Lila Lee
CinematographySidney Hickox
Edited byGeorge Amy
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • November 2, 1930 (1930-11-02) (US)
(limited release)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Gorilla (1930) is an all-talking pre-Code murder mystery comedy film produced by First National Pictures, distributed by Warner Bros., and directed by Bryan Foy. The movie stars Joe Frisco, Harry Gribbon, Walter Pidgeon and Lila Lee. The film was based on the 1925 play, of the same name, by Ralph Spence. The 1930 film version was a sound remake of the 1927 silent version, which was also produced by First National Pictures.[1]

No film elements from The Gorilla are known to survive.[citation needed] The soundtrack, which was recorded on Vitaphone disks, may survive in private hands.


The story opens with a murder that has supposedly been caused by a gorilla. Police are only able to catch a glimpse of his black shadow cast against a brick wall before he disappears. Garrity (Frisco) and Mulligan (Gribbon) are two detectives who are hired by Cyrus Stevens (Maxwell) to help protect him from the gorilla as he has just been threatened with a note that indicates that the gorilla will arrive at his home before midnight.

Stevens lives with his ward, Alice Denby (Lee), who is in love with Arthur Marsden (Pidgeon). Garrity and Mulligan stand guard outside the house until it is close to midnight but do not see anything suspicious. Eventually, Garrity is persuaded by Mulligan to put on a gorilla skin in order to entice the gorilla and trap him. In order not to be shot by those searching for the gorilla, he wears a white ribbon around his neck.

While Garrity is searching for the gorilla, the real gorilla appears and begins to chase Mulligan. He manages to climb up a tree and calls for help but no one comes to his aid. The gorilla breaks off a branch of the tree and Mulligan falls to the ground. The gorilla now finds Garrity, who has hidden in another tree. While reaching for Garrity, the gorilla manages to reach the white ribbon and he then places it around his neck. The gorilla now goes around freely while Garrity, being unable to take the monkey head off, is being hunted down as being the real gorilla.

Eventually, Garrity manages to get the head off but is still pursued and shot at in the dark until he manages to get into a lighted area. Marsden, who turns out to be an undercover detective, eventually discovers that the real murderer is Stevens.


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