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James L. Wolcott
Mary Ann Webb,
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Deep in the South American jungle plantation manager Barney Chavez (Raymond Burr) kills his elderly employer in order to get to his beautiful wife (Barbara Payton). However, an old native witch witnesses the crime and puts a curse on Barney, who soon after finds himself turning nightly into a rampaging gorilla. But is his transformation real or is it all in his head? Written by
Jeremy Lunt <email@example.com>
When Dina goes searching for Barney in the jungle for the first time, we see a quick shot of a leopard climbing up into a tree. Although this scene is supposed to be outdoors (the jungle), both the leopard and the leaves around him are casting shadows on the "sky" behind them. The sky is obviously a wall or backdrop. See more »
Police Commissioner Taro:
This is Jungle - lush, green, alive with incredible growth - as young as day, as old as time. I, Taro, Police Commissioner of Itman County, which borders the Amazonas River, know it as well as any man will ever know it. Isn't it beautiful? But I have also learned that beauty can be venomous, deadly, something terrifying, something of prehistoric ages when monstrous superstitions ruled the minds of men, something that has haunted the world for millions of years rose out ...
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Beautiful Barbara Payton is married to a much older man who has little time for her. What is a blonde, buxom girl to do? Well, no secret here that she has an affair with the foreman of her husband's plantation, Raymond Burr, who gives a performance worthwhile yet plays a guy with which you will have virtually no sympathy. Things get nasty in the jungle: Barb's husband is killed and Ray marries her. Yet, a native old woman seeks revenge on Burr by poisoning him so that he will turn into some jungle demon...a big gorilla. On his track is none other than Commissioner Tarro - Lon Chaney Jr. playing a native-turned-educated policeman from the jungle land. Chaney isn't really bad, just unbelievable in his role. Curt Siodmak directed this film and wrote the script. Siodmak was the writer of Universal's classic The Wolfman. In both pictures we have an average man turn into a beast at night. In both pictures we have transformation scenes - grand ones in The Wolfman and pitifully cheap ones in this production. Chaney also is in both films. Siodmak really does a less-than-average job behind the camera. My guess is budgetary constraints really held his hand in check. This is a very cheaply made film. The jungle house looks fine, but jungle scenes look less than real. Siodmak does have a few nicely shot scenes, particularly as the lens becomes a character walking into the jungle. What about the gorilla? No Jack Pierce here. In fact the gorilla maybe makes three appearances and none of them very substantial. The film has a lot of talking, Raymond Burr brooding a lot, and Chaney lecturing us on the "laws of the jungle." Payton does a decent job, but let's face it. She is there for one reason only. And Evelyn Ankers she is not! Character actor Tom Conway rounds out the leads, giving another one of his wooden but amiable performances.
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