Untamed Mistress (1956)

Article 5204 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-13-2016
Directed by Ron Ormond and Allan Nixon
Featuring Allan Nixon, Jacqueline Fontaine, Byron Keith
Country: USA
What it is: Bungle in the Jungle

A safari tries to locate a tribe of gorillas. They bring along a woman who was raised by the gorillas and then civilized, but will her return to the jungle cause her to revert to her savage ways?

“The Motion Picture Guide” calls it a horror movie, which is how it got onto my hunt list. To its credit, it does have some talk about a cursed shrunken head and a magic talisman, and though that’s slight as far as fantastic content goes, it’s closer than some other jungle movies. IMDB calls it a drama, which accords the movie more dignity than it really merits. I’m calling it as I see it; it’s a Double-Stuffed Safari-O with a heavy exploitation angle (lots of topless women) that ultimately manifests itself as an inadvertent comedy. Jacqueline Fontaine’s appeal has little to do with her acting abilities, and this is a fairly daring movie for 1956. There’s lots of stock footage incorporated into the movie, and some of it is ridiculous; when the men encounter a native dance in the middle of the jungle, the fact that the dance footage features people watching from tiered bleachers in the background makes us realize they were nowhere near a jungle when this was filmed. Yes, it’s really bad, but it’s also quite funny bad, and I will say the ending is pretty novel for this sort of movie. Incidentally, whoever wrote up the cast list for this movie on IMDB engaged in a bit of editorializing; Allan Nixon is billed as playing “Insipid Hero”.


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