Holding Onto the Past – The Brute Man (1946)

The Brute Man starring Rondo Hatton is not so much a horror movie as it is a film with a good dose of suspense and a dash of drama. In it, Hatton plays a killer, a man looking to get a little revenge for events that took place many years previous which left him disfigured and though it was ultimately himself to blame for said accident, he means to make others pay for it. As it is, the killer’s actions are horrific, being that the man murders people up close and personal with his bare hands to whomever ticks him off at a given moment.  The man is remorseless and just when it looks like he might have found a little bit of redemption, he cannot allow himself to grab ahold of it, leading to what was always headed his way.

Hatton is good, though his character is given little to do except wander around, brood and of course, kill people. The role really called for little of the man, but there are moments where he does express some actual feelings and is called to emote. Said occasions take place when he is in the presence of a blind girl as played by Jane Adams, a woman who cannot see what most are frightened of, though it is not so much that the man looks horrible. His features might be a little exaggerated from the norm and are explained away in the film and combining those with the man’s size which many would find more than imposing, being called a brute is quite apt. Factor in a very bad temper and a sad-sack personality as the man could not and would not get over the incident which made him the way he is and for those who might bump into him on the street, dark or not, may not play out the way one would hope.

The film is a short one, running only a little less than an hour and the ending is a little abrupt, almost as if the makers of the movie did not know what to do next other than conclude it with the killer being caught, but all in all, it made for a good if formulaic watch, with Hatton in fine form.

3 out of 5

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