Brute Man (1946)

June 12, 2020


Starring Rondo Hatton, Tom Neal, and Jane Adams. Directed by Jean Yarbrough. Produced by Ben Pivar. Music by Hans Salter. Running Time is 59 minutes.

Even though this film was distributed by PRC (Producers Releasing Corp.) who purchased it for 125,000 from Universal as a continuation of the character “The Creeper.” Played for the third and last time by Rondo Hatton as he passed away shortly after from his horrible disfiguring acromegaly, a glandular disease that got him Hollywood roles but ultimately cost him his life. Universal really wanted nothing to do with it and didn’t want their name associated with the film which PRC went along with. I have no idea if they recovered their money on it or not. Jean Yarbrough, the director, had a long career in ‘B’ movies and television spanning over 30 years, never having a hit but stayed employed in his craft. Ben Pivar had a successful career as a horror movie producer for Universal. Jane Adams, the blind girl, performed as a disfigured character in “House of Dracula” (1945) as a bit of trivia; she never got passed the horror movies and retired in 1953. Tom Neal ended up in all sorts of trouble. First in a fistfight (he was a boxer in college) with Franchot Tone, putting him in the hospital for weeks over actress Barbara Payton and for killing his wife which put him in prison for a stretch.Not a very nice man. He did have a hit with “Detour” (1945) Perhaps PRC was interested in distributing the film because they had made “Monster Maker” (1944) and viewed it as a sort of sequel as they both had to do with acromegaly?  The film opens with Hal Moffet played by Rondo Hatton killing his chemistry professor who he blamed for his ghoulish appearance and killed which was really caused by his own doing in the laboratory. He continues to terrorize the town of Hampton seeking further revenge killing a delivery boy and one of his classmates. In spite of his evil, there is a soft spot in his heart as he befriends a blind girl and decides he will steal enough money so she can have an eye operation. He does this knowing the friendship will be over with as soon as Helen sees him. In the end, he is captured but Helen will get the operation anyway as she helped the police in bringing him to justice.  I think he was captured and not killed because in the conclusion they felt there was another sequel for “Creeper,” not knowing how ill Rondo was. The overall acting of Tom Neal and Rondo Hatton was pretty poor and distracted from the film as both were going through the motions to get a paycheck. Jane Adams and Donald MacBride both did competent jobs in their character actor roles. The soundtrack from Hans Salter was nothing more than reworking old material.  The weakest of the three is still worth a watch at 59 minutes. (**).