Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Captive Wild Woman (1943)

Starring Acquanetta, John Carradine, Evelyn Ankers, Milburn Stone, Lloyd Corrigan
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A mad scientist kidnaps a circus gorilla for his experiments and succeeds in transforming it into a human woman that savage animals still fear.

We have here one of the few female Universal monsters, the Ape Woman, a statuesque beauty played by Acquanetta who reverts into a half-human beast when her savage instincts take over in a pretty fearsome makeup.  You'll have to leave your disbelief at the door when watching this film, but if you do, it's a fun enough monster movie.  The screenplay seems written around grainy footage of animal tamer Clyde Beatty from an earlier film (1933's The Big Cage, per Wikipedia), and new scenes with Milburn Stone standing in for Beatty don't match up well with that footage, although the animal action, featuring ferocious lions and tigers is superb.  Acquanetta who stays mute throughout the film fares better here than in her later speaking roles, and John Carradine brings the appropriate intensity to the role of the distinguished but evil scientist.  The film is probably most notable for its director, Edward Dmytryk, who according to Wikipedia, later became an Oscar-nominee and was blacklisted during the 1950s.

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