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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bride Of The Gorilla (1951)

Starring Barbara Payton, Lon Chaney Jr., Raymond Burr, Tom Conway, Paul Cavanagh
Directed by Curt Siodmak
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

The foreman of a jungle plantation murders the owner in order to have his attractive young wife, but is then cursed by a native servant into becoming something far from human.

Written and directed by Curt Siodmak, who wrote several screenplays for the classic Universal horror films of the 1940s, the picture has been compared by film historian Tom Weaver to The Wolf Man, which Siodmak also scripted, as I recall from a commentary where he noted a number of interesting parallels between the two productions.  This movie is not in the same league as that film, but Burr has a brutish presence that works for his character, and although Chaney is not ideally cast as a native police commissioner, he approaches the role seriously and pulls it off with distinction.  Payton as the film's star is lovely to look at but her performance didn't make much of an impact on me- I thought she was a bit better in Four Sided Triangle.  For my money, Siodmak wasn't as talented a director as he was a writer, and that may hurt this film a bit, which drags here and there, but thought he was successful in creating a memorable jungle setting and atmosphere.

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