JUNGLE WOMAN

1944

The alluring Acquanetta returns as half-woman, half-ape Paula, revived from death by doctor J. Carrol Naish to continue her deadly rampage that starts when jealousy turns her into a bloodthirsty jungle beast.

Cast:
Evelyn Ankers .... Beth
J. Carrol Naish .... Dr. Fletcher
Samuel S. Hinds .... Coroner
Lois Collier .... Jean Fletcher
Milburn Stone .... Fred Mason
Douglass Dumbrille .... District Attorney
Acquanetta .... Paula
Richard David .... Bob Whitney
Nana Bryant .... Miss Gray
Pierre Watkin .... Dr. Meredith
Christian Rub .... George, the groundsman
Alec Craig .... Caretaker
Eddie Hyans .... Willie
Tom Keene .... Joe, fingerprint man

 

Evelyn Ankers

Lois Collier

Born Madelyn Jones in Sally, South Carolina on March 31, 1919. Her childhood dream was to be a missionary in China, but a taste of acting in school plays soon changed her mind and she decided on a career on stage. Her mother was supportive of her decision, and while her daughter was attending college in South Carolina, entered her picture in a contest sponsored by CBS Radio for a part in a radio play in Hollywood. She won the part, and took the name of the character she played, Lois Collier, as her professional name. Lois landed more radio work, and soon began playing small parts in local stage productions. After signing the Republic contract, she achieved success in the popular "3 Mesquiteers" westerns. Collier appeared in seven of the titles, more than any other leading lady in the long running series.

 It was on stage, however, where she was spotted by a scout for Universal Pictuers and given a seven-year contract. In 1943, the appealing actress signed on with Universal, hoping for parts in larger productions. Instead, she wound up primarily appearing in programmers such as "Get Going" and "She's for Me", both in 1943. She held the second female lead in the best of the Maria Montez adventure films, "Cobra Woman." She also joined Loretta Young, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Anne Gwynne and Evelyn Ankers in the wartime drama "Ladie's Courageous." Collier also made a brief unbilled appearance in the musical extravaganza "Follow the Boys." She then joined her "Ladies Courageous" co-stars Gwynne and Ankers in the Inner Sanctum thriller "Weird Woman." The story was based on the Fritz Leiber novel Conjure Wife, which was later remade as "Burn, Witch, Burn" with Janet Blair in 1962. Collier's next horror film assignment was "Jungle Woman," the sequel to the 1943 thriller "Captive Wild Woman."

By 1945, Ankers and Gwynne, Universal's two most prolific leading ladies of the genre, had departed the studio. Collier would be called upon to fill the void created by their absence. She found herself cast in the musical mystery "The Crimson Canary." Besides her work in horror and mystery features, Collier co-starred in the Abbott and Costello comedy classic "The Naughty Nineties" that same year. Also that year, Collier appeared in the musical comedy "Penthouse Rhythm." Another teaming with Norris was to follow, that being the thirteen-chapter serial "Jungle Queen." Collier began 1946 by appearing in yet another mystery, this one entitled "Girl on the Spot." She then found herself menaced by a homicidal fiend in "The Cat Creeps." She next co-starred with Don Porter in the western, "Wild Beauty." The Technicolor adventure "Slave Girl" with Yvonne De Carlo, released in 1947, was to be her last Universal film. A mid 1946 merger with International Pictures had brought an end to the more standardized programmers of the previous ownership. From that point forward the production of "B" films came to an end, and all subsequent projects were to be more upscale faire.

After leaving Universal-International, Collier continued her screen career into the 1950's. Among her more memorable credits of the period was the Marx Brother's comedy "A Night in Casablanca." Released in 1946, it also featured Charles Drake and Sig Ruman. While not on par with Graucho, Chico and Harpo's laugh fests of the previous decade, it perhaps ranks as their finest work of the 1940's. Collier also returned to Republic for the 1950 cliffhanger "Flying Disc Man from Mars." Despite her successful film career, the role Collier would come to be most identified with was to come in 1951. That year, she was signed for the role of Mary Wesley in the hit television series "Boston Blackie." The program aired until 1953. A few other television guest appearances in the mid 1950's followed, until she retired completely before the end of the decade.

After residing in Beverly Hills for several years, Collier eventually moved to the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California. Suffering from Alzheimer's, she passed away at age 80 on October 27, 1999. Her charm and beauty continues to remain fondly remembered by fans of the era.

 

Acquanetta

Various reports indicated differing stories of Acquanetta's origins. It has been stated that she was born near a reservation of Arapaho Indian parents in Ozone, near Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1920, as a torrid Latin temptress from Venezuela, and also that she was from Norristown, a Pennsylvanian mining community. Born on an Arapaho reservation in Wyoming, Acquanetta grew up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and began her professional career as a top- salaried Manhattan model. New York columnists fabricated a South-of-the-Border background for the girl they dubbed "The Venezualan Volcano", and she soon landed in Hollywood with a contract at Universal Pictures.After graduating from High school, Acquanetta went to New York to become a model. On her way to South America to perform at Copacabana, she stopped over in Hollywood, where independent producer Walter Wanger spotted her and found her a bit part in ARABIAN NIGHTS. Universal Studios liked what they saw and signed her to a contract. They then created the non-speaking role of Paula Dupree, the Ape Woman, which ran for three films (the last being portrayed by Vicky Lane). She had also been assigned to appear as 'Amina Mansouri' in The Mummy's Ghost 1944, until she had an accident on the set and Ramsay Ames replaced her. After Universal, she joined RKO where she appeared in TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD WOMAN, her only starring role in a big-budget production. She drifted into obscurity shortly afterwards, appearing in small supporting roles thereafter. In the Fifties, she was hosting a radio and TV show on a local Arizona channel representing her current husband's Lincoln-Mercury dealership.

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