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

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Johnny Weissmuller and Suzanne Dalbert
MARK OF THE GORILLA (1950). Director: William Berke.

Skulduggery is afoot in a government game preserve in the Nagandi district of Africa. For one thing murderous gorillas are stalking about, even if this isn't their natural territory. Do these big apes perhaps have a secret? One thing that isn't a secret is that there's a horde of Nazi gold hidden on the preserve, and several people are trying to find it. These include the suspicious Professor Brandt (Onslow Stevens of The Couch) and the pretty Nyobi (Suzanne Dalbert, who has a distracting resemblance to Ingrid Bergman)! Then there's Warden Bentley (Selmer Jackson) and his niece, Barbara (Trudy Marshall of The Dancing Masters), who may be on the side of the angels. Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) takes care of the gorillas as well as the treasure hunters, though he has a tough time of it in spots. Mark of the Gorilla is fast-paced and well-directed, and surprisingly entertaining. There's a great scene when a chimp keeps stealing Jungle Jim's fish behind his back; a bit with a panther having a set-to with a crocodile; and exciting sequences featuring an attack by a hawk on a mountain and a prop moray eel under the water. As usual in these JJ pictures, the uncredited (and probably stock) score is a big help.

Verdict: This darn thing is fun! ***.

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