Movie Review: Captive Wild Woman (1943)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1943 science fiction film starring John Carradine and Acquanetta.

Synopsis: A doctor/researcher steals an intelligent circus ape and, using the glands from one of his female patients, turns the ape into a woman. His experiment is a success and, when his creation, Paula, reveals she can control wild animals, she becomes a big hit with the circus. However, her jealousy over an animal trainer's romantic relationship causes her to turn violent.


My oldest daughter and I have had this movie recorded on DVR for several months now and finally had an opportunity to watch it tonight. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this film when we first started watching it. Unfortunately, after seeing it, I don't think it was worth the wait.

I'll start out by saying I was very impressed with actress Acquanetta in this movie. She was actually pretty captivating as the ape woman, Paula, especially since she was able to pull off the role without the luxury of speaking. My daughter also loved her, commenting several times about how beautiful she was.

Plus, as always, Evelyn Ankers was both beautiful and glamorous in her role as Paula's unwitting rival, despite the fact she really didn't have as much of a role in this movie as I would have preferred.

Unfortunately, other than that, there wasn't much that was overly impressive about this film. In fact, for a science fiction movie that had the potential to be a thriller, it was actually kind of bland. Basically, the doctor (Carradine) changed the ape into a woman then she stood around for a while before finally attacking someone. I honestly was expecting more.

In fact, I think the most exciting thing in this movie was the stock footage of lion taming. And, even that was somewhat limited because it seemed to be a bit repetitive at times.

Not to mention some of the scenes were pretty dated and some of the animal abuse that was shown was a little bit uncomfortable, even if it was realistic for the time period.

Captive Wild Woman

A mad scientist turns an ape into a beautiful, but deadly woman in the shocking Captive Wild Woman. After Dr. Walters (John Carradine) transforms an ape into the exotic Paula Du...

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Final Opinion

As I said, Acquanetta was entertaining to watch in this film and the movie had some potential as a result. Unfortunately, the movie really fails to capitalize on that potential and the film is more dull than entertaining.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 02/27/2016, StevenHelmer
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