Jungle Captive

Tagged: Film

Film (1945; vt The Jungle Captive). Universal Pictures. Directed by Harold Young. Written by Dwight V Babcock and M Coates Webster from a story by Babcock. Cast includes Phil Brown, Jerome Cowan, Rondo Katton, Otto Kruger, Vicky Lane and Amelita Ward. 63 minutes. Black and white.

A sequel to Captive Wild Woman (1943) and Jungle Woman (1944), with no members of the original casts; even the Ape Woman is played by a different actress (Lane). Eminent biochemist Dr Stendahl (Kruger) successfully revives a dead rabbit in his laboratory, with two of his students, Ann Forrester (Ward) and Dan Young (Brown), in attendance. An ambulance driven by the brutish Moloch (Hatton) arrives at the city morgue to claim the body of Paula Dupree, the Ape Woman; when problems arise with his claim papers, Moloch strangles the attendant and takes Dupree's body. He later sends the ambulance over a bluff before taking the body in another vehicle to a desolate house.

Detective Harrigan (Cowan) finds a medical smock near the ambulance wreckage, and traces this to Stendahl's laboratory, where Ann devises an alibi that throws Harrigan off the trail. Unfortunately Stendahl proves to be a Mad Scientist who abducts Ann, taking her to the old house where he has a secret laboratory. There he uses a partial transfusion of Ann's blood to revive Paula in gorilla form. Unsure how to proceed, he sends Moloch to secure medical records from Dr Fletcher, protagonist of the previous film: but Moloch kills him off-screen, presumably because actor J Carroll Naish was unavailable. Stendahl now uses glandular fluids from Ann to restore Paula to human form (see Apes as Human). He decides she needs a brain transplant with Ann as the donor.

Paula then disappears; Moloch is sent to search the grounds, but cannot locate her. In Stendahl's office Dan sees he is wearing a college fraternity pin he had given Ann, and follows Moloch to the old house. Dan is promptly captured, but soon escapes while Stendahl and Moloch are preoccupied with their search for Paula. He frees Ann, but both are quickly recaptured (Dan is not remarkably competent). Moloch, who fancies Ann, realizes the brain transplant will kill her; he objects. In the ensuing fracas, Paula (now found again) reverts to animal form and kills Stendahl. Harrigan arrives before she can kill Ann too, and shoots her dead.

The Paula Dupree films are particularly minor 1940s productions from Universal Pictures. This last instalment is one of several that shamelessly exploited actor Hatton's disfigurement by the glandular disorder acromegaly. It is memorable for little else. [GSt]

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