Bride of the Gorilla

1951

Deep in the South American jungle plantation manager Barney Chavez (Raymond Burr) kills his elderly employer in order to get to his beautiful wife (Barbara Payton). However, an old native witch witnesses the crime and puts a curse on Barney, who soon after finds himself turning nightly into a rampaging gorilla. But is his transformation real or is it all in his head?

Cast:
Raymond Burr .... Barney Chavez
Barbara Payton .... Mrs. Dina Van Gelder
Tom Conway .... Dr. Viet
Gisela Werbisek .... Al-long
Lon Chaney Jr. .... Commissioner Taro
Paul Cavanagh .... Klaas Van Gelder
Paul Maxey .... Van Heusen
Carol Varga .... Larina
Moyna MacGill .... Mme. Van Heusen
Felippa Rock .... Stella Van Heusen
Woody Strode .... Nedo
Martin Garralaga .... Native
Steve Calvert .... Gorilla

Barbara Payton

When you look at Barbara Payton's publicity photos you see a beauty of unparalleled dimension, an aura of unquenchable emotion and a women of unrelenting desire. Barbara Payton seemed destined to have it all but as a candle burns brightest before it burns out, so did the story of this blue eyed blonde beauty. Born Barbara Lee Redield on November 26, 1927 in Cloquet, Minnesota of Norwegian-German stock to Erwin Lee "Flip" Redfield and the former Mabel Todahl. As her 1963 tell-all book, "I Am Not Ashamed", reveals, she looses her virginity at the age of 15 to a schoolmate's father, who makes love to her in a dry bathtub while the unknowing guests at a surprise birthday party, held in his honor, celebrate downstairs. Four years later after a quickie marriage to her high school sweetheart, William Hodge and divorce his parents had it annulled, she left her home town for good to pursue her dream. She headed for Hollywood in 1948 and, within a short time, was placed under contract by Universal, where she began the typical starlet route of bit parts. She is quickly labeled the "Queen of the Night Clubs" by columnist Harrison Carroll. Payton hit the big time when she was personally selected by James Cagney (who was reportedly impressed by her off screen fondness for profanity) to co-star in Cagney's Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950). She earned nationwide notoriety shortly afterward, when actors Franchot Tone and Tom Neal engaged in public fisticuffs over her affections. She reached her peak with routine but promising co-star work opposite Gary Cooper in Dallas (1950) and Gregory Peck in Only the Valiant (1951). By this time, her affairs have become legendary and reads like a who's who of Hollywood. Although she continued making films through 1955 her star has lost it's luster and she begins a downward spiral into alcoholism, prostitution and homelessness. In May 1967, her father discovers her ravaged body on the bathroom floor, dead of heart and liver failure at 39. Her physical appearance is so drastically changed that it takes two days before authorities realize who she is.