Captive Wild Woman (1943)

60-61 mins | Horror | 11 June 1943

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HISTORY

The opening credits include the following written statement: "We hereby make grateful acknowledgement to Mr. Clyde Beatty for his cooperation and inimitable talent in staging the thrilling animal sequences in this picture." Although Acquanetta's credit reads "and introducing Acquanetta," the actress had previously appeared in two Universal films: Arabian Nights (See Entry) and Rhythm of the Islands (See Entry). HR news items state that George Waggner was originally set both to produce and direct this film in Aug 1941, with Maria Montez in the starring role. According to NYT , this film used circus footage from the 1933 Universal film The Big Cage , starring Clyde Beatty and Anita Page and directed by Kurt Neumann (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0312). Universal borrowed director Edward Dmytryk from RKO for this production.
       Modern sources state that Maurice Pivar co-wrote the original story with credited writers Ted Fithian and Neil Varnick, that Jack P. Pierce was the film's makeup artist, that Ray "Crash" Corrigan played "Cheela, the ape" and that actor Turhan Bey provided the voice of the film's closing narration. Universal made two sequels to Captive Wild Woman , Jungle Woman in 1944 and Jungle Captive in 1945 (see entries below). In Jungle Woman , Evelyn Ankers, Milburn Stone and Acquanetta reprised their roles from Captive Wild Woman , and that film made extensive use of footage from the previous film, including scenes with actor John Carradine in the role of "Dr. Sigmund Walters" and the aforementioned circus footage from The Big Cage . Although ... More Less

The opening credits include the following written statement: "We hereby make grateful acknowledgement to Mr. Clyde Beatty for his cooperation and inimitable talent in staging the thrilling animal sequences in this picture." Although Acquanetta's credit reads "and introducing Acquanetta," the actress had previously appeared in two Universal films: Arabian Nights (See Entry) and Rhythm of the Islands (See Entry). HR news items state that George Waggner was originally set both to produce and direct this film in Aug 1941, with Maria Montez in the starring role. According to NYT , this film used circus footage from the 1933 Universal film The Big Cage , starring Clyde Beatty and Anita Page and directed by Kurt Neumann (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0312). Universal borrowed director Edward Dmytryk from RKO for this production.
       Modern sources state that Maurice Pivar co-wrote the original story with credited writers Ted Fithian and Neil Varnick, that Jack P. Pierce was the film's makeup artist, that Ray "Crash" Corrigan played "Cheela, the ape" and that actor Turhan Bey provided the voice of the film's closing narration. Universal made two sequels to Captive Wild Woman , Jungle Woman in 1944 and Jungle Captive in 1945 (see entries below). In Jungle Woman , Evelyn Ankers, Milburn Stone and Acquanetta reprised their roles from Captive Wild Woman , and that film made extensive use of footage from the previous film, including scenes with actor John Carradine in the role of "Dr. Sigmund Walters" and the aforementioned circus footage from The Big Cage . Although here the ape woman's name is "Cheena," in the subsequent films she is referred to as "Cheela." For more information about this series, please consult the Series Index. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 May 1943.
---
Daily Variety
27 Apr 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 May 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 41
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1941.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 42
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 42
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 43
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Jan 43
p. 1127.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 May 43
p. 1290.
New York Times
7 Jun 43
p. 9.
Variety
28 Apr 43
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
[Sd] tech
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 June 1943
Production Date:
10 December--late December 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
11 May 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12179
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
60-61
Length(in feet):
5,470
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9124
SYNOPSIS

Animal trainer Fred Mason is warmly greeted by his fiancée, Beth Colman, upon his return from a two-year expedition in Africa. Along with an assortment of wild animals, Fred brings with him a female ape he has named Cheela. While the animals are being unloaded from the ship, a tiger escapes, but Fred manages to save the day by corraling the animal into a ticket booth. During the ride into town, Beth tells Fred about the treatment her younger sister Dorothy is receiving from the noted endocrinologist, Dr. Sigmund Walters at the Crestview Sanitarium. They then arrive at the winter home of the Whipple Circus, where Fred meets Walters and the circus' owner, John Whipple. Whipple and Walters inspect the new lions and tigers Fred has brought back from his safari, including Nero, a male lion notorious for killing four natives. Walters takes an immediate interest in Cheela, and when Whipple tells him that the ape is not for sale, he abducts the animal with the help of Gruen, a recently fired circus worker. After allowing the ape to kill Gruen, Walters injects Cheela with some of Dorothy's sex hormones, transforming the ape into a beautiful woman. When Walters' nurse of thirteen years, Miss Strand, objects that such experiments might kill Dorothy, the physician kills her and transplants her brain into the apewoman's head. With his experiment a success, Walters renames his creation Paula Dupree and begins training her for a new life. Meanwhile, Whipple agrees to hire Fred as the circus' new lion tamer after he fails to sign renowned animal traine Clyde Beatty for the position. As Fred practices his ... +


Animal trainer Fred Mason is warmly greeted by his fiancée, Beth Colman, upon his return from a two-year expedition in Africa. Along with an assortment of wild animals, Fred brings with him a female ape he has named Cheela. While the animals are being unloaded from the ship, a tiger escapes, but Fred manages to save the day by corraling the animal into a ticket booth. During the ride into town, Beth tells Fred about the treatment her younger sister Dorothy is receiving from the noted endocrinologist, Dr. Sigmund Walters at the Crestview Sanitarium. They then arrive at the winter home of the Whipple Circus, where Fred meets Walters and the circus' owner, John Whipple. Whipple and Walters inspect the new lions and tigers Fred has brought back from his safari, including Nero, a male lion notorious for killing four natives. Walters takes an immediate interest in Cheela, and when Whipple tells him that the ape is not for sale, he abducts the animal with the help of Gruen, a recently fired circus worker. After allowing the ape to kill Gruen, Walters injects Cheela with some of Dorothy's sex hormones, transforming the ape into a beautiful woman. When Walters' nurse of thirteen years, Miss Strand, objects that such experiments might kill Dorothy, the physician kills her and transplants her brain into the apewoman's head. With his experiment a success, Walters renames his creation Paula Dupree and begins training her for a new life. Meanwhile, Whipple agrees to hire Fred as the circus' new lion tamer after he fails to sign renowned animal traine Clyde Beatty for the position. As Fred practices his act, Walters arrives with Paula, and she saves Fred's life when he is knocked unconscious in the lion's cage. Paula is quickly hired as Fred's assistant, and their act becomes a great success. Paula's jealousy of Beth, however, soon causes her to excrete excessive amounts of animal secretions, turning her into a half-woman, half-ape. She climbs into Beth's bedroom in an attempt to kill her rival, but murders another woman instead. Paula then returns to Walters' laboratory, where the doctor lectures the animal, stating that he must now graft more sex glands and transplant another brain into her body to return her to human form. Meanwhile, Beth suggests that Paula and Cheela may be one and the same, an idea that is rejected as ludicrous by Fred. Beth then receives a phone call from Dorothy, in which her younger sister begs to be removed from Walters' care. Beth arrives at the sanitarium just as Walters is about to begin his latest operations on Dorothy and Paula, who has now fully returned to ape form. Learning of the ape's hatred of Walters, Beth releases the animal, which then kills the mad surgeon. Meanwhile, in the midst of an electrical storm, Fred performs his act, which, against Whipple's orders, now includes Nero. Frightened by the lightning, the lions and tigers become uncontrollable, and Nero attacks Fred, but the animal trainer is rescued by Cheela, who carries him out of the lion's cage and to safety. The heroic ape, however, is killed in the end by a policeman, who mistakes the true intentions of the animal. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.