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Jungle Woman

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1944). Universal Pictures. Directed by Reginald Le Borg. Written by Henry Sucher and Bernard Schubert. Cast includes Acquanetta, Lois Collier, Richard David, Douglass Dumbrille, Samuel S Hinds, Edward M Hyans, J Carrol Naish and Milburn Stone. 61 minutes. Black and white.

A sequel to Captive Wild Woman (1943). Two figures, man and woman, are initially seen struggling; the man produces a hypodermic needle and injects the woman, who falls to the ground apparently dead. The scene shifts to a coroner (Hinds) investigating the death of Paula Dupree (Acquanetta), allegedly slain by Dr Carl Fletcher (Naish). Fletcher is persuaded to tell his story by the coroner and the District Attorney (Dumbrille).

Flashbacks then establish Fletcher's gradually growing understanding that Paula is in fact a Shapeshifting gorilla (see Apes as Human). He sees the gorilla save animal trainer Fred Mason (Stone) from attack, only to be shot by police who misunderstand her actions. Fletcher revives the gorilla, who reverts (out of sight) to human state without needing injections or brain transplants as in the previous film. She tells Fletcher's daughter Joan (Collier) that she is Paula Dupree. An abortive love triangle between these two and Joan's fiancé Bob Whitney (David) prolongs the film. Paula, seemingly unable to control her metamorphoses, creates a small reign of terror. Fletcher, having forensically established the identity of gorilla and girl, injects her with a sedative on finding her trying to break into Joan's cabin; the accidental overdose kills her.

These flashbacks do not convince the DA, so the coroner takes him and the jury to the morgue where they find Paula Dupree's body. She has reverted in death to a half-human, half-ape Monster; Fletcher is acquitted of the murder charge.

This follow-up to Captive Wild Woman is poor even by the standards of Universal's second-rank productions; it includes twenty minutes of clumsily inserted stock footage from the previous film. Typically for this period, it shows animals treated with now-unacceptable cruelty. A further sequel is Jungle Captive (1945). [GSt]


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