MARK OF THE GORILLA (1950)
Article 1885 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-13-2006
Posting Date: 10-10-2006
Directed by William A. Berke
Featuring Johnny Weissmuller, Trudy Marshall, Suzanne Dalbert
When a messenger is killed by a man-in-a-gorilla-suit, Jungle Jim is confused; this isn’t man-in-a-gorilla-suit country. He visits a nearby scientific expedition and learns that there is a hidden cache of gold somewhere within the game preserve. Jungle Jim begins to suspect that the man-in-a-gorilla-suit is not a real gorilla, but actually a man in a gorilla suit!
Just because I’m finished with the Weissmuller Tarzan movies doesn’t mean that I’m finished with Weissmuller; there are plenty of Jungle Jim movies out there. This one is pretty silly, in case you didn’t guess that from the plot description. Jungle Jim has an odd trio of animal friends here; there’s a monkey (who steals fish), a dog (who steals fish and smokes cigars), and a crow who is far and away the most useful of the three companions; he is constantly flying off with useful items and bringing them to Jungle Jim, or cluing him in on important discoveries. The movie also has a talking bird who kibitzes on a gin rummy game and is actually rather amusing. Still, I am disappointed a little by the ending. If I were writing the story, I wouldn’t have been able to resist having it end by having the main villain in charge of the gang of men-in-gorilla-suits-playing-men-in-gorilla-suits being killed off by a man-in-a-gorilla-suit-playing-a-real-gorilla. Or at least, I would have a man-in-a-gorilla-suit-playing-a-female-gorilla fall in love with one of the men-in-gorilla-suits-playing-men-in-gorilla-suits, though actually, that’s more of something that would happen to Lou Costello. But then, I wouldn’t be able to resist having one of the women encountering Jungle Jim offer to climb all over him, but then, I’ve been dying for someone to make that joke in every movie of the series.