Captive Wild Woman, 1943, Edward Dmytryk (Foto: Filmarchiv Austria)

Double Feature

Weird Woman (1944)

Studio: Universal; Regie: Reginald Le Borg; Drehbuch: Brenda Weisberg, Scott Darling nach dem Roman von Fritz Leiber Jr.; Kamera: Virgil Miller; Musik: Paul Sawtell; Darsteller: Lon Chaney Jr., Anne Gwynne, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Morgan, Elisabeth Risdon. 35mm, sw, 63 min

Captive Wild Woman (1943)

Studio: Universal; Regie: Edward Dmytryk; Drehbuch: Griffin Jay, Henry Sucher, Ted Fithian, Neil P. Varnick; Kamera: George Robinson; Darsteller: John Carradine, Evelyn Ankers, Milburn Stone, Lloyd Corrigan, Fay Helm, Martha Vickers, Vince Barnett. 35mm, sw, 60 min
Die erfolgreiche Radioserie Inner Sanctum Mystery inspirierte sechs Universal-Filme mit Lon Chaney Jr. Der Beste aus der Reihe ist Weird Woman, in dem Chaney als Anthropologieprofessor eine exotische Südseeschönheit heiratet, die er während seiner Feldforschung für ein Buch über Voodoo-Religionen kennengelernt hat. Der österreichische Emigrant Reginald Le Borg entwirft das scharfkantige Porträt einer engstirnigen US-Collegestadt voller inzestuöser Rivalitäten und latenter Xenophobie. Der exzentrische Sci-Fi-Horrorfilm Captive Wild Woman entstand in den Gesellenjahren Edward Dmytryks als Cutter und B-Regisseur: John Carradine als unethischer Endokrinologe, der für obskure Experimente an einem aus dem Zirkus gestohlenen Gorilla lebenswichtige Organe von Patientinnen verwendet – um den Primaten in eine attraktive Frau zu verwandeln. (H. G.)

Aus dem Katalog zur Retrospektive:

The long-running mystery and suspense radio serial Inner Sanctum Mystery (1941–1952) inspired six Universal films, all starring Lon Chaney Jr. and featuring eerie stories of supernatural terror. The best in the series is Weird Woman which finds Chaney as an anthropology professor married to the exotic island native he met while conducting field research for a book on voodoo religions. Austrian émigré Reginald Le Borg lends an ironically anthropological eye to his cutting study of a small-minded American town destabilized by the incestuous rivalries and unspoken xenophobia that ignite when Chaney unexpectedly returns from his expedition with his comely bride in tow. Remaining true to its radio origins, Weird Woman makes effective use of voice-overs to place the viewer squarely in the troubled mind-set of Chaney as he struggles to understand the many weird women who whisper suggestively into his ear, including the original Cat Woman and always uncanny Val Lewton regular Elizabeth Russel as a wrathfully vengeful wife desperate to blame someone for her husband's suicide. (Haden Guest)

Before his best known film noir and his controversially brief turn as one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten, Edward Dmytryk was an editor turned director steadily working his way across different studios' B-units. Dmytryk's journeyman years included a stint at Universal where he helmed this eccentric sci-fi horror starring John Carradine as an unethical endocrinologist performing dangerous experiments upon a gorilla stolen from the circus, using vital organs removed from female patients to transform the beast into a beautiful woman whose strange predilection towards wild animals ultimately reveals her true identity. Played by a Native American or African-American born actress whose origins remain uncertain but who was claimed in studio ballyhoo to be "The Venezuelan Volcano" best known by the stage name of Acquanetta, the gorilla-woman is as uncomfortably blatant an emblem of racist fears as King Kong years earlier. Intertwining the doctor's increasingly dangerous experiments with the perilous work of the animal trainer taming vicious lions (reusing footage from Universal's 1933 circus picture The Big Tent), Captive Wild Woman channeled the fad for sexualized jungle exotica into a surprise box-office hit. (Haden Guest)

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