The Alligator People (1959)

Article #149 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-12-2001
Posting date: 12-26-2001

When a woman’s husband leaves her during their honeymoon after he receives a mysterious cable, she tracks him down to a plantation. There she encounters a doctor performing unorthodox experiments with alligators.

I have a bit of fondness for this flawed little SF movie, perhaps because of some little touches here and there that I like. The presence of the always-welcome Beverly Garland is definitely one of the plusses, and I also like George Macready, who, though he usually plays villains, here gives the doctor a slightly sympathetic edge; he really is trying to take responsibility for the mistakes he’s made. I’m less taken with Lon Chaney Jr.’s performance in this one; his hook-handed, I-hate-gators cajun is fairly one-dimensional as written, and he plays it way too broadly for my taste. I also feel very uneasy about the psychological viewpoint expressed in this film that repressed memories contribute to living normal, happy lives; I wonder what mental health experts would say about that theory.


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