The White Gorilla (1945)

Article #1628 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-29-2005
Posting Date: 1-26-2006
Directed by Harry L. Fraser
Featuring Ray Corrigan, Lorraine Miller, George J. Lewis

A safari guide stumbles into a trading post and tells the people there a “story” about his encounter with a white gorilla.

If there’s any other jungle movie out there that gives FORBIDDEN JUNGLE a run for its money as the worst of the jungle genre, this is the leading contender. Sometimes, I can’t decide which one is worse. Sure, FJ is absurdly bizarre, has laughable special effects at time, and features dialogue that sounds as if it were written by Ed Wood. Still, it does tell a coherent story and actually seems rather sincere. This one is a piece of cynical hackwork from the moment of conception; it’s an attempt to cobble together a feature made of about thirty minutes of new footage and thirty minutes of footage from an old serial. This would have resulted in a poor movie in the best of circumstances; however, the serial that provided the rest of the footage was a silent serial, and that makes things even worse. I’m not sure there’s even a story, but if there is one, the story told by the silent footage (which involves jungle explorers and a white boy with supernatural powers over animals) and the one told by the new footage (about an angry white gorilla and an angry black gorilla) never intersect; in fact, when it comes time to wind up the silent footage, an expedition is sent out to rescue the characters from that footage, but comes back only to say they couldn’t find anything but some bones in a tiger pit. To tie it all together, we have Ray Corrigan spending a lot of time in a tree watching things from a distance and pondering as to how he can help out, which of course he can’t, because he’s only in the new footage. Perhaps the funniest scenes here are the gorilla attacks, which, despite the fact that they’re supposed to be brutal, are anything but. The opening credits give the stars as “Ray Corrigan, Lorraine Miller, and An All-Star Cast”, the latter of which they never mention by name; I guess they must have felt that since they were all stars, no introduction was necessary. And no, I didn’t recognize a single one of them.

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