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

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Ray Corrigan in costume as the white gorilla
THE WHITE GORILLA (1945).Director: Harry L. Fraser.

Steve Collins (Ray Corrigan of Captive Wild Woman), a guide in Africa, comes back alone from an expedition to tell others about his experiences in the jungle, including an encounter with an "outcast" and angry white gorilla (also played by Corrigan). Most of the film consists of flashbacks which were actually taken from the 1927 silent serial, Perils of the Jungle. The biggest giveaway is the hair style and look of the gal in the flashbacks as opposed to the more natural and much sexier look of Ruth (Lorraine Miller) in the "modern" segments. The scenes from the serial have to do with a cute little white boy, Kimpo (Bobby Nelson), who is somehow able to lord it over the natives (Tarzan as a child?) and who first appears hanging from a friendly elephant's trunk. Then there's a search for treasure in the Cave of the Cyclops, where the little boy's mother lives, pretending to be crazy so the natives -- who are called "Tiger Men" -- will leave her alone. The white gorilla seems not to have come from the serial, and there are two scenes where this outcast battles a mighty black gorilla for domination. There's a very exciting scene (from the serial) in which lions attack an outpost, as well as a sequence with a hippo supposedly going after a frightened gal -- judging from these sequences Perils of the Jungle seems like it must have been a lively and fast-paced cliffhanger.  The "cyclops" of the cave only turns out to be a giant statue. but the wildlife footage in this is excellent. Ray Corrigan proves to be a better actor in his ape suit than he does out of it. The opening credits for this read "starring Ray Corrigan and an All Star Cast" -- hardly.

Verdict: Interesting opportunity to see a silent serial with some ape nonsense thrown in for good measure. **. 

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