Yet another monster movie that has flown under the radar. Captive Wild Woman is a simple little thing that Universal cooked up in 1943. Somehow, it spawned two sequels, but it's an underachiever. It runs for 61 minutes, half of it is comprised of stock footage, and the heavy isn't terribly heavy. The story concerns a mad scientist (of course) who conducts research in glandular technology. His snapping point arrives when he attempts to inject a sickly woman's blood into the veins of an ape. This curious experiment yields troubling results; the ape turns into a beautiful woman!
The beautiful women is played by a mysterious b-movie actress by the name of Acquanetta. She doesn't need a last name, thank you very much. I have to say, she is quite appetizing in the role. Our tempting jungle captive turns into a hairy, bloodthirsty creature whenever she is consumed with jealousy. The make-up effects are technically proficient, although Acquanetta isn't shown in monster form very often.
If you're wondering about the stock footage, there are bounteous, innumerable scenes of animal training. You see, the main characters are trying to put a circus together. I didn't mind the repetitous reels because they are impressive from a logistic standpoint. This is some serious cat wrangling, and besides, the film is too short to worry about pacing abeyancy. Is "abeyancy" a word? You be the judge.
On the downside, this isn't an exciting bone-chiller. It goes down like creamed corn, and I suppose it would come out the same. Sorry about the imagery. The actors are competent enough, but again, the action isn't involving. Captive Wild Woman ends with a whimper. The closing scenes are a hasty rushjob if I've ever seen one, much like this review. It comes to a complete stop before the plot gets a chance to build momentum.
The sequels aren't worth bothering with, unless you're a completist. I'm a completist, so I'll more than likely cover them at some point during...2010. This isn't a "high priority" franchise, but for what it is, Captive Wild Woman is fit for a slow afternoon. Watch it for the winsome cast, which includes John Carradine and classic scream queen Evelyn Ankers. Oh, and Acquanetta. You can't leave Acquanetta out of the list of key players. Or can you?
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 4:06 PM