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Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 Main

Universal Horror Collection: Volume 5 - Captive Wild Woman Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 Large

Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Written by Griffin Jay and Henry Sucher
1943, 61 minutes, Not rated

John Carradine as Dr. Sigmund Walters
Evelyn Ankers as Beth Colman
Milburn Stone as Fred Mason
Lloyd Corrigan as John Whipple
Acquanetta as Paula Dupree – the Ape Woman

Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 05 Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 06


Animal trainer Fred Mason returns from safari with a number of lions and tigers and one very special gorilla named Cheela. Fred’s girlfriend Beth works for the circus owner and is excited to hear his plans for an upcoming act. Beth takes her sickly sister Dorothy to see Dr. Walters, an endocrinologist intent on advancing the marvels of science. Walters is your typical mad scientist with plans to steal Cheela and conduct experiments using injections from Dorothy’s glands and the brain of his loyal assistant Nurse Strand, to turn the gorilla into a beautiful woman!

He succeeds in his mission dubbing the ape-woman hybrid Paula Dupree. He takes her to the circus to see how she interacts with the animals and it is here she sees Fred, to whom she is physically attracted. Paula has a calming effect on the large jungle cats and assists Fred in training them for his act. Everything is going well until Beth shows up and kisses Fred, which sets Paula off in a huff where she loses control of her emotions and reverts to half ape. She grows angry and possessive and will do anything it takes to win Fred’s love, even if she has to kill for it.

Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 07 Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 08

Captive Wild Woman makes generous use of recycled animal footage from The Big Cage (1933) with real life trainer Clyde Beatty. This is the most exciting element of the picture featuring fighting lions and tigers and Beatty’s behavioral conditioning of the cats, but animal lovers may see this as cruel and want to give this one a wide berth.

The great John Carradine (The Howling) stars as Dr. Walters and fills the role with quiet malevolence. His performance is measured and he commands every minute of his screen time. Acquanetta (Tarzan and the Leopard Woman) plays Paula Dupree with a sensuous mystique. The film ends with a definite finality, but the ape-woman character proved popular enough to bring back for two sequels (also included in this collection).

Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 09 Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 10

the monster and the girl previous jungle woman next


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