Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


JUNGLE WOMAN (1944). Director: Reginald LeBorg.

Paula the Ape Woman is back! Apparently there was a spark of life left in her at the end of Captive Wild Woman, and the kindly Dr. Fletcher (J. Carrol Naish) was able to resuscitate her. The gorilla-girl sort of spontaneously turns back into the beautiful Acquanetta and, now human, becomes a patient in Fletcher's sanitarium. The story is told mostly in flashback during a session of coroner's court; there are also flashbacks taken from the first picture. For the first time ever, Paula opens her mouth and speaks -- excitedly -- when she spots Bob (Richard David), the boyfriend of Fletcher's daughter, Joan (Lois Collier). Sure enough, her hormones have kicked in gear again and she'll kill off anyone who gets between her and her chosen mate! Uh oh! Milburn Stone and Evelyn Ankers appear in the court scene, but have nothing to do with the new storyline. According to Stone's testimony, Cheela the gorilla was rumored to be a human being who had been turned into an ape via experiments, an intriguing notion (the opposite of what occurred in Captive Wild Woman) that isn't examined any further. Acquanetta effectively lopes around with a kind of gorilla's gait, and the other performances are competent; Naish is as wonderful as ever. A night time underwater attack on a canoe is well-handled, and the picture, while utterly illogical at times, has a certain amount of suspense. Followed by The Jungle Captive.

Verdict: Fun! Paula would want you to watch it. **1/2.

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