Newest Reviews
Happy Death Day
You Can't Stop the Murders
Legend of the Mountain
Man: The Polluter
Wolf Warrior II
Journey to the Seventh Planet
Ghost Story, A
Lady in the Lake
Devil at Your Heels, The
Paddington 2
Two Jakes, The
Re: Born
Dracula Sucks
Perfect Weapon, The
Hollywood Babylon
True Legend
Die Laughing
Thor Ragnarok
Killing of a Sacred Deer, The
This Beautiful Fantastic
Monocle, The
Substitute, The
Hallucination Strip
Birth of the Dragon
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Newest Articles
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
  Captive Wild Woman Gorilla GirlBuy this film here.
Year: 1943
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: John Carradine, Milburn Stone, Evelyn Ankers, Lloyd Corrigan, Acquanetta, Martha Vickers, Fay Helm, Vince Barnett, Paul Fix, Ray Corrigan
Genre: Horror
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Fred Mason (Milburn Stone) has returned from two years away hunting wild animals - not to kill them, but to capture them for American zoos and circuses; he has an animal act himself where he trains lions and tigers. His girlfriend Beth Colman (Evelyn Ankers) is delighted to see him as she waits by the dock, but as they're catching up and the animals are being hoisted off the ship one of the cages falls from its ropes, breaking open and letting loose the tiger that was inside. Fred jumps into action, grabbing a chair and a walking stick and forcing the beast safely into a nearby office. The drama appears to be over, but there's the matter of gorilla Cheela to worry about...

Back in 1943, Universal was looking to cut a few corners and re-use the footage of lion taming (and tiger taming, too) from the 1933 film The Big Cage, an adventure film starring the then-famous tamer Clyde Beatty. He did not return for this, so a lookalike in the shape of Stone was recruited, providing what they hoped would be the perfect match for those archive clips. You would suspect that it was not really him doing the stunts nevertheless, but Captive Wild Woman found a cult audience for another reason, and that was the inclusion of the actress playing the title character: Acquanetta.

Acquanetta's image was played up to be as exotic as possible, which proved restrictive in the roles she secured, and she only made a handful of appearances. Nevertheless, her sensual and let's face it, more than slightly campy screen personality have offered her a place in the hearts of movie fans for decades now, and the fact that she wasn't a "Venezuelan Volcano" as the publicity would have it does nothing to hinder that. Actually, her real name seems to be in question, though most settle on her being born Mildred Davenport, but she said she had American Indian ancestry, which would account for her looks.

This playing up of an air of smouldering ethnic sexuality was her stock in trade, and here, in what could be seen as a dubious development, she gets to play a gorilla whose wild emotions she cannot keep in check. No, that wasn't her in the suit - no actual apes were employed in the making of this film, which is more than could be said of the lions and tigers - but that staple of forties horror movies, the mad scientist steps in to turn the creature into a beautiful woman for reasons best known to himself. He is Dr Sigmund Walters (Sigmund - must be psychological, right?), played by John Carradine in one of those roles which set him on a path of many a shocker, and he is obsessed with glands.

Walters is convinced that if he manipulates glands then he'll, I dunno, eliminate disease and create a race of supermen or something, he's a little fuzzy on the details, so to that end he takes Beth's ailing sister Dorothy (Martha Vickers) and uses her in obscure transfusion experiments at his sanitorium. The result is that combined with the kidnapped Cheela, a young woman is created who Walters names Paula Dupree for reasons best known to himself, and he introduces her to Fred and the rest. In this part, Acquanetta didn't speak, preferring to look soulful and mysterious, at least until she begins turning back into a gorilla when jealousy over Fred, who she is helping with his act, rears its head. If you can stomach the vintage lion and tiger footage, and there's a lot of it, Captive Wild Woman is winningly ridiculous and guaranteed to raise a laugh or three. Followed by two sequels.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2172 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Jason Cook
Paul Shrimpton
  Jony Clark
Darren Jones
  The Elix
Paul Smith


Last Updated: