Professor Franklin Arnold (Ralph Morgan) along with Professor Ernst (George Macready) and a team of three other distinguished scientists have created a robot called “Metallogen Man”. Their aim is to provide strong manual labor for industries. At the Bainbridge Research Foundation the metal man is revealed to reporters.

Soon after the announcement three of the scientists are killed by a large gorilla (Ray “Crash” Corrigan). Professor Arnold calls in the services of Ken Morgan (Robert Lowery). Morgan is a representative of the corporation that commissioned the robot. Professor Arnold sends his daughter Babs (Carole Mathews) to pick him up at the station. Morgan gets a telegram telling him to get off at a different station. Two henchmen pick him up and take him to a remote area to dispose of him and take his place.

Thinking they have killed Morgan they leave. While the henchmen are stealing the robot and its control unit, Morgan manages to get back to the road and flag down a car. The car he stops belongs to Professor Arnold. Morgan explains who he is and urges the professor to hurry back to the lab. When they get there they find the robot is gone. In their haste the thieves dropped the Metallogen disk, a critical component of the robot. Without it the robot won’t function.

Arnold notifies his fellow scientist Professor Ernst. Ernst warns Arnold that there is no proof that Morgan is who he says he is. He tells Arnold to bring the robot component to him for safe keeping. While at Ernst’s home Arnold stumbles onto a secret compartment containing the robot control unit.

Arnold realizes that Ernst is the arch fiend who stole the robot. He knows now that Ernst plans on using the robot for evil doings. As Professor Arnold, Morgan and Babs try to foil Professor Ernst’s criminal plans, Ernst in turn, tries to outwit Morgan and the professor using his henchmen and a trained gorilla named Thor.

"The Monster and the Ape” was released in 1945 and was directed by Howard Bretherton. It is a fifteen chapter action adventure/thriller serial. It is also the 26th serial produced by Columbia Pictures.

The main hook with the serial is that you get a two fer. It has both a robot and a gorilla. The robot is decent looking for a forties style robot. Unfortunately it doesn’t do a heck of a lot. As a matter of fact most of the time it sits on a throne. Why a robot would have to sit is never addressed.

What the serial lacks in robot action it more than makes up in fist fights. There seems to be at least one fight every episode and it’s always at least two against one and at least once it was four against Morgan. Also some of the cliffhangers were cheats. There are a lot of inconsistencies that kids wouldn’t care about but adults would pounce on. For example, adjusting your hat during a fist fight. There are quite a few little and large inconsistencies and plot holes.

Comic relief in the movie is Willie Best as the chauffer Flash. He is used as standard racist comedy. The best actor award of the serial goes to Crash Corrigan as the unruly gorilla Thor. This is probably the longest role he has ever had as a gorilla and he makes the most of it. Most of his scenes are his being schlepped from place to place which is a little boring but he ad-libs a lot of antics that add a little fun to the film, to the irritation of whomever it stuck holding the end of his chain.

Despite all my criticisms of the serial it’s not the worst I’ve seen. It’s just longer than it needs to be based on the action on screen. The added padding makes the serial a little less interesting and the under use of wonderful Crash Corrigan and the useless robot are a missed opportunity that could have made the serial much more exciting. Instead they relied on fist fights to represent most of the action.

Chapter titles: 1 The Mechanical Terror, 2 The Edge of Doom, 3 Flames of Fate, 4 The Fatal Search, 5 Rocks of Doom, 6 A Friend in Disguise, 7 A Scream in the Night, 8 Death in the Dark, 9 The Secret Tunnel, 10 Forty Thousand Volts, 11 The Mad Professor, 12 Shadows of Destiny, 13 The Gorilla at Large, 14 His Last Flight, 15 Justice Triumphs.