Wednesday, August 13, 2008

White Pongo

Between 1926 and 1958, Sam Newfield directed over 250 films, including the classic The Terror of Tiny Town. He directed so many movies that he often used pseudonyms like Peter Stewart and Sherman Scott, and he is considered to be one of the most prolific film directors of the sound era. 1945 was a slow year for Newfield -- he only directed 14 films, White Pongo being one of them.
The plot is straightforward enough. Suspecting that a safari guide is a wanted killer, an undercover cop joins a safari in Africa led by the suspect for a scientist that hopes to find and prove that a fabled white gorilla is a missing link between man and ape.
Interstingly while the term White Pongo refers to the legendary white gorilla, most of the characters refer to it as the White Ponga. Also, one character calls his Africa porter by the name of Mumbo Jumbo. No, I am not making that up.
The gorilla costumes aren't bad, but this never rises above pointless melodrama. It's 72 minutes that I'll never get back.

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