Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Richard Fraser, Maris Wrixon, Lionel Royce, Al Eben, Gordon Richards
Director: Sam Newfield
Genres: Action & Adventure
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The Great White Ape
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 02/04/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Off we go into the jungles of Africa to find the missing link, the white ape. Oh goodie, you can tell you have wandered into B-movie land. But this movie has more than just a simple plot about great white hunters searching for mythical beasts; we also get a couple of subplots to spice up the fun.
The movie starts out innocently enough. We have an expedition searching for White Ponga. I know, the title is "White Pongo," but everyone in the movie says Ponga. Are you going to believe the title or the characters in the movie? The nominal leader of this expedition is Sir Harry Bragdon (Gordon Richards). Of course, there has to be a hot babe in here somewhere, so Sir Harry brings along beautiful daughter Pamela (Maris Wrixon, who was really beautiful).
Almost as fast as you can say "lust in the dust," there is conflict over Pamela between Sir Harry's personal secretary and Geoffrey Bishop (Richard Fraser), who is a lowly rifleman hired to guard the expedition. Sir Harry's personal secretary is a sleaze ball and we instantly do not like him, and tall, handsome, silent type Geoffrey Bishop is instantly likeable, except to Sir Harry. We get some mid-20th century snobbery as the secretary implies that Geoffrey is too lowly to marry wealthy and beautiful Pamela, and of course Sir Harry has to agree.
After an encounter with the local natives, who we are told are going to ambush the expedition, the entire group heads upriver. Soon we find out that half the members of the expedition are there to find gold in the jungle, and include a crook or two or three. The crooks leave the good guys tied up and head off with Pamela. What about the white gorilla? I am glad you asked. There was an attempt to catch White Ponga which failed. White Ponga captured Pamela, apparently because the Ponga also thought Pamela was hot, but the good guys got her back. This all happened before the crooks took off with Pamela. Of course, White Ponga was unhappy that Pamela was with the crooks and he follows them in the jungle.
Anyway, we learn that tall handsome Geoffrey Bishop is actually undercover and trying to find evidence that the members of the expedition Think of how happy Sir Harry was when he found out the guy exchanging spit with beautiful daughter Pamela was not some lowlife guard but was instead working for the government, recalling that government service was always considered honorable by the British (except when the government took over the coal mines, but that is a completely different story).
The movie gets really exciting now, mostly because there is little time left to wrap up all the stuff. Can Pamela be rescued and the crooks brought to justice? What about White Ponga? I will let the viewer see how it all turns out.
Ray Corrigan, who also went by the name "Crash" Corrigan in the early 50s, played White Ponga or Pongo. Crash was on television a lot in the 1950s, even hosting his own show. There was also a character in the movie called "Mumbo Jumbo," which I thought was funny. The writers of the movie must have been desperate to call someone that name.
This movie is actually okay. The gorillas look just like guys in gorilla suits, which I always find funny. There appears to be constant roaring in the jungle, which I also find funny. Several stock shots are used to show various critters, some of which I thought belonged in places other than Africa. However, there is a charm to a movie like this. I was actually surprised as the plot took a couple of twists. This movie readily falls into the B-movie category, but it is an enjoyable B-movie.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this is an awesome white ape movie, and you must have it for your collection. it's better than king kong! remember the part when white pongo is running through the jungle? that was awesome! also he's very cute. buy this and nabonga!"
The Missing Link? No, Just Another Guy In A Gorilla Suit.
Robert I. Hedges | 03/13/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
""White Pongo," made in 1945, is an early "guy in a gorilla suit" movie. It is a typical cheap jungle movie about white men hiring locals to pursue a mythical beast into the bush. In this case the beast in question is a white gorilla known as "White Pongo" who is thought to be the missing link, and is seen as the ultimate test of Darwinian theory. There are subplots about a diary, theft, betrayal, and of course, the obligatory romance with the random pretty girl along on the safari for no good reason.
The movie is pretty standard fare with no amazing plot twists; the closest thing to a twist is the tender "romance" scene where Pongo cuddles the starlet. (Feel free to make your own "King Kong" reference here.) In the end Pongo is subdued and caged and the right guy gets the girl, so all is well in movieland.
For its day the film was probably in the middle of the pack; I have certainly seen much worse from this era and genre, but I only give it two stars for two significant reasons: first, the movie is just plain boring; there is absolutely no sense of pacing. There are many mundane shots of canoeing, tribal dancing (be alert for especially humorous "tribal dialogue"), and camping. These scenes go on and on and veritably beg you to hit the fast forward button on your remote. The second major problem, and actually the most annoying, was the audio quality of the film. I don't believe it was my particular copy of the DVD, though I guess that's possible, but much of the dialogue is virtually inaudible to the point that you just have to guess what's going on by context. I don't know if a cleaner copy exists, but it could only improve this edition.
In summary, the movie is hokey, the acting is uneven (particularly grating are the reaction shots to the romance scene that closes the film), and Pongo himself is utterly ludicrous looking. Aside from these things and not being able to hear most of the dialogue, I recommend "White Pongo" without reservation.