Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Brute Man|
Actors: Rondo Hatton, Tom Neal, Jan Wiley, Jane Adams, Donald MacBride
Director: Jean Yarbrough
Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Lock your doors! Fasten the windows! "The Creeper" is on the loose and the police are powerless to stop his bloody rampage! A revenge tale of "B" proportions, "The Brute Man" is the story of Hal Moffat, a college student w... more »
And now, the DVD technical review
Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 05/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Another customer review very nicely covers the movie itself, so just let me chime in with a few quick words about the technical quality of the DVD release.You might think that this disc would be grainy, or soft, or with poor contrast, particularly since it's from the legendary poverty row studio PRC, and a few other PRC videos are so-so. Truth is, although the film was released by PRC, it was produced by Universal Studios!You'll be exceedingly happy to discover that the transfer to DVD is outstanding. Contrast is excellent, and the image is sharp and clean. This is a Criterion-level transfer here! Sound is nice and clean too. Of course, the disc hasn't anything in the way of extras. Running time is just about an hour, the case is a snapper.If you're interested in the related films, this one is the last of the "Creeper" films. The Creeper is Rondo Hatton's "signature role" begun in 1944 in the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes film PEARL OF DEATH, followed by 1946's HOUSE OF HORRORS, and finally THE BRUTE MAN (which was indeed Hatton's last film)."
Below-par B thriller of historical interest only
Steven W. Hill | 03/07/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Brute Man was the last film of Rondo Hatton, an acromagly sufferer whose disfigured looks were exploited by Hollywood in a series of movies in which he played a psychopathic back-breaker called The Creeper (although none of the movies, including the Sherlock Holmes thriller Pearl of Death, has any link and were not part of any series).This cheap PRC production has Hatton hunt down the people responsible for his disfigurement (an explosion in his college lab) and also murder various others who get in his way. The victims include a nosy shop assistant and a jeweller who insists that Hatton pay for a broach. Meantime, he falls in love with a blind woman but she eventually betrays him to the police and he tries to kill her too.One of the amusing things about this movie is that there's supposed to be a huge Dragnet out for Hatton but he's always walking down the street openly despite his looks and appearance. He actually doesn't give a bad performance. Deapite his reputation as The Ugliest Man Alive his looks aren't really bad enough to warrant the screaming reaction he gets from some of his victims. Film is padded out by some silly footage involving the investigating police (at one point playing cards when the Commissioner comes in and then taunting him). A pretty silly script and a general lack of style."
"I've changed a little since I last saw you."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/01/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I first became familiar with the character `The Creeper' after seeing a likeness of him in the 1991 film The Rocketeer, as special effects man Rick Baker transformed actor `Tiny' Ron Taylor into the character of Lothar, an incredible likeness of Rondo Hatton, who played the character (sans any prosthetics) in the late 1930s and through the 1940s, up until his death in 1946 at the age of about 52. Seems Hatton, once a handsome looking man (according to reports), suffered from a case of acromegaly, which resulted in a form of gigantism deforming his head, feet and hands to enormous proportions. Hatton's last film, The Brute Man (1946), directed by Jean Yarbrough (She-Wolf of London, Hillbillys in a Haunted House), features Tom Neal (Another Thin Man, Detour), Jan Wiley (She-Wolf of London), and Jane Adams (House of Dracula). Also appearing is Donald MacBride (My Favorite Wife, High Sierra, The Thin Man Goes Home), Peter Whitney (Destination Tokyo), Fred Coby (Devil's Cargo), and Janelle Johnson Dolenz, mother to Micky Dolenz, of the mid 1960s group "The Monkees".
As the film begins we learn the police are on alert as some psychotic lunatic is running around the city breaking necks without a permit. Turns out the killer, dubbed `The Creeper', is none other than former collegiate all American football player Hal Moffet (Hatton), once a normal looking man, now deformed brute out for revenge. So what happened? Well, seems back in the day when Hal was in college, he and his friend/roommate Clifford Scott (Neal) were both competing for the affections of the same woman, Virginia Rogers (Wiley), and Cliff, the smart one, in an effort to put one over on Hal, fed him with some wrong answers for a chemistry test, which resulted in Hal having to stay after class and do some extra work. In a fit of jealous anger, the hot-headed Hal accidentally exposed himself to some chemicals, which resulted in him becoming severely disfigured (he now has the face of a well worn catcher's mitt), paranoid, and extremely bitter. Cliff got the girl, and Hal disappeared, eventually returning to exact his revenge on those who he thinks ruined his life. During his efforts to elude the police, Hal meets an attractive and compassionate blind girl named Helen (Adams), and the two develop a friendship, as she has no idea he's actually `The Creeper'. Turns out Helen's condition is one that might benefit from a costly operation, one she can't possibly afford, but Hal knows Cliff (who now appears to be the poster boy for Murray's Superior Pomade...time to change that oil, m'boy) has done quite well for himself and his wife, as the pair are living high on the hog. It's reunion time as Hal visits the Scotts, but the inept police aren't far behind, catching a few breaks as some vital clues fall into their laps, and Hal ends up suffering even more, perhaps the ultimate, betrayal.
I read that Universal initially produced this film, but then ended up selling it off to Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), a poverty row studio of the time, as they thought the material too exploitationary for their tastes, playing off Hatton's condition as the feature did...I could see their point, but it's funny how they weren't so offended as to shelve the project, but rather pawn it off to recoup their costs...business is business, I suppose. I did sort of enjoy the film, but it tended to get bogged down in the sappy subplot between Hal and Helen. I honestly thought this was going to result in story taking a different tact, one where Hal sees Helen living quite happily with her handicap, and might eventually come to accept his own condition, but it didn't go that way...I guess there wouldn't have been much point as Hal had already killed a number of people about the time this realization would have set in...he did seem to struggle a little with the notion that if he got the money for Helen's operation, and she could actually see, she might dump him given his `grotesque' appearance. Of the handful of people Hal disposes of (including a nosy grocery delivery boy), he missed one as someone who really deserved killing was that cantankerous, crotchety, loud mouthed grocery store owner. Geez, Louise, just because someone pays you a pittance to make deliveries and sweep the floor doesn't give them the right to verbally beat on you like a red headed stepchild. Anyway, there's really not a whole lot to get out of this film, other than plenty of shots of Hatton's condition for lurid, viewing pleasure, as he sneaks around, shimmying up fire escapes, skulking in bushes, etc. The man didn't seem to have much in the way of acting skills, and most rest of the performers weren't given much in terms of meaty parts to make up for his defiencies. At least Jan Wiley and Jane Adams were both really easy on the eyes. I am curious that if Ms. Adams character was, in fact, blind, how did she manage to make herself look as good as she did? I'm not saying blind people can't make themselves attractive, but she looked just a little too well made up...I thought the direction was quite good, but, as I mentioned earlier, the film gets mired is sap shortly after it starts, making the scant 59 minute run time seem much longer than it is...I did learn a few things from this film, the most important perhaps that if you're ever confronted in your home by a homicidal, neck breaking manic suffering some strange affliction causing his extremities to become enlarged, and you've managed to get the drop on him with a gun, go for the head shot, as shooting him in the leg only seems to make him go insane and even more kill crazy.
The picture quality, presenting in fullscreen (1.33:1), on this Image Entertainment release looks much better than I would have expected, and the Dolby Digital audio comes through very well. There are no extras available, and the film begins once placed into a DVD player. There are chapter stops, for what its worth.
Oh, one more thing, if you're a store owner and a homicidal, neck breaking manic suffering some strange affliction causing his extremities to become enlarged wants to buy something on credit, you'd best let him, else he just might pop your head off like a bottle top.
Steven Hellerstedt | 08/05/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Rondo Hatton plays the Creeper in the cheap, dull and exploitative THE BRUTE MAN, and gawking at him is about the only reason to get this one. After exposure to poison gas in World War One Hatton contracted a disease that severely elongated and deformed his facial bones and Hollywood came a-calling in the 1930s. Hatton appeared in about twenty-five movies, almost always playing a mute bad guy, before dying of a heart attack shortly after THE BRUTE MAN was released.
If you want to see Hatton in an enjoyable flick get THE PEARL OF DEATH, a 1944 Sherlock Holmes mystery with Rathbone and Bruce.