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The 100




Bride of the Gorilla
(1951)
Reviewed by Scott Murdock
Rating: 8 Beans

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aving trouble sleeping? I have the perfect cure... 1951's psychological thriller "Bride of the Gorilla".

Set in the Amazon rainforest and packed with stock footage of jungle animals from an entirely different continent, this is a Hitchcockian tail of love, murder, betrayal, and justice. Unfortunately instead of Hitchcock we get Curt Siodmak as the writer/director. Siodmak is known for such classic films as "Curucu, Beast of the Amazon" (1956), "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" (1943), "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" (1956), "Creature With the Atom Brain" (1955), and "Tarzan's Magic Fountain" (1949) - undoubtedly where all the jungle footage came from.

The movie opens showing scenes from a devastated building, then tells the story in flashback. The opening is odd, because by the end of the movie we see absolutely nothing happen that would lead to the trashing of this building.

Plantation employee Barney Chavez (Raymond Burr) falls in love with his stodgy boss's wife, Dina Van Gelder (the short-lived Barbara Payton). During an argument over who should be with Dina, Barney shoves his boss into the path of an oncoming poisonous snake, which of course bites and instantly kills him.

There's a brief inquest, and Barney is cleared of the charges, but some people still have their suspicions, including an old witch who saw the whole thing. When Barney marries Dina (seemingly the very next day), the witch puts poison in his drink and curses him to roam the jungle at night as an animal. Before the two can even consumate their marriage, Barney begins undergoing transformations into an apelike creature and roams the jungle each night. After refusing to see a doctor about his condition and several nights of jungle fun in which he never poses a threat to a single person anywhere, he is hunted down for no fault of his own. That makes up the bulk of the movie... "Where's Barney?" "Oh, he's out in the jungle again".

By the time the movie ends we realize that Barney never once appeared in his gorilla form in front of another human being. Which leads us to wonder... was he really cursed, or was he experiencing symptoms of delusion from being poisoned? Hmmmmmm. Unfortunately, in order to care, you have to still be awake by the time the movie ends.






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