White Pongo

December 21, 2014 at 4:17 am (2 Heads, White Pongo) (, , , , , , )

White Pongo – 1945 – United States

Some scientists travel the Congo River to investigate a legendary white gorilla. Because of his keen intellect, the gorilla is supposedly the “missing link” between gorilla and man. Obviously White Pongo’s writer did not understand Darwin’s theory of evolution very well.

On the trail, various subplots occur. There is a romance between a predatory woman and an ambivalent man. Murderous crooks betray the expedition. And one of the travelers is actually a Rhodesian Secret Serviceman. In the climax, the white gorilla and a black gorilla have a savage protracted battle. Then the white gorilla is brought to civilization to be exploited.

White Pongo could easily be confused with The White Gorilla since both were released in the same year and feature Ray “Crash” Corrigan wearing the same gorilla suit. White Pongo was directed by the hardworking and thrifty Sam Newfield. From 1936 to 1946, Newfield directed an average of 16 feature films a year. Considering this, it is unsurprising that White Pongo is cheap and boring. The pacing is lethargic. The characters are insipid. And the premise is implausible. Trekking along the Congo River would be dangerous and uncomfortable. Why do these scientists seem to be enjoying themselves?

At one point, a bear cub apparently sneaks into the scientists’ camp. If this is the case, then White Pongo’s writer did not do his homework. Disregarding the Nandi bear, an elusive cyptid, bears were extinct in Africa probably before the 20th century. However, the DVD version I watched was in terrible condition. Perhaps the animal was actually an anteater.

Rating: 2/10 Shrunken Heads. The genus Pongo describes orangutans, not gorillas.

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