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Captive Wild Woman (1943)

Unrated  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  4 June 1943 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 444 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 20 critic

An insane scientist doing experimentation in glandular research becomes obsessed with transforming a female gorilla into a human...even though it costs human life.



(original story), (original story), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview:
Evelyn Ankers ...
Fred Mason
Lloyd Corrigan ...
John Whipple
Fay Helm ...
Nurse Strand
Dorothy Colman (as Martha MacVicar)
Vince Barnett ...
Curley - Rube
Gruen - Handler
Acquanetta ...


A mad scientist transplants human glands into a gorilla, turning the ape into a beautiful young woman (Acquanetta). However, a severe emotional jolt soon reverts her back into her primitive self with disastrous consequences. Written by Jeremy Lunt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


STRANGEST OF SIGHTS... The brain of an animal... the form of a woman! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 June 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Cativa Selvagem  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Acquanetta never speaks during her time on screen. See more »


The same shot of two lions fighting in a circus cage that is used about 12 minutes into the film is re-utilized near the end of the film during the storm sequence. See more »


[first lines]
Dockworker: Clear the dock! Clear the dock!
See more »


Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Man-Made Monsters (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (Edward Dmytryk, 1943) **1/2
22 March 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

To be honest, I had little faith in this one – and, if the "Leonard Maltin Film Guide" is to be trusted, that feeling is certainly true of its two sequels; however, I was pleasantly surprised by it – even if, at the end of the day, the film rests squarely on the (most capable) shoulders of John Carradine and, admittedly, the animal training scenes (actually stock footage from a much earlier title!) probably take up more than half of its running-time (which is barely over an hour to begin with!). Anyway, the plot is basically "The Island Of Dr. Moreau" using more up-to-date technology (glandular transplant) and given an American small-town setting; however, the latter stages – denoting the hybrid creature's murderous jealous fits – are a definite nod to the Val Lewton classic CAT PEOPLE (1942). Having preceded this with a viewing of the superior (and more sci-fi oriented) MAN MADE MONSTER (1941), it was interesting to witness the similarities in the "Mad Doctor" characterization – down to the dialogue, where not only is he willing to commit murder (sacrificing one measly life for the good of Science) but in the way the mind of a brilliant scientist has warped in the pursuit of his own 'immortality'; a Shakespearean actor, Carradine cannot have been pleased to be appearing in this type of fare (and he made scores of them throughout his lengthy career!) but there is no denying the intensity and, thus, conviction of his performance here (amusingly, he plays a Dr. Sigmund[!] Walters) – particularly the calmness with which he tosses circus wrangler Paul Fix into the path of a gorilla which hates his guts or working out in his mind how to use, rather than merely dispose of, people who threaten to disrupt the all-important experiments (such as wavering assistant Fay Helm and, eventually, heroine Evelyn Ankers). The latter (with whom I happen to share my birthday!) graced many a Universal horror movie – as did, incidentally, some of the borrowed music cues! – but here she has to contend with the oddly-named Acquanetta, who looks exotic enough (and certainly fetching in 'jungle' garb) albeit saddled with a speechless role (thus having to act virtually with her eyebrows alone!) and, later, unbecoming ape make-up!!; also appearing briefly as Ankers' younger sister (and Carradine's guinea-pig) is Martha Vickers – billed under her real surname, MacVicar, and who would later be memorably sexy in Howard Hawks' THE BIG SLEEP (1946). Lloyd Corrigan, then, is the flustered circus owner, Vince Barnett the diminutive comic-relief of an absent-minded feeder and, of course, there's rugged Milburn Stone as the would-be animal trainer leading-man: apparently more often seen as a character actor or in bit parts, he makes for one of the dullest heroes in the annals of Universal Horror! Although this film eventually found its way on that exclusive (or is that elusive?) "Universal Classic Horror Archive" 3-Disc Set, I had to regretfully settle for an artifact-riddled DivX copy...

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