Tuesday, December 2, 2014

White Pongo: Monstrous Hokum

You might be forgiven for thinking that White Pongo is some form of embarrassing disease, one that is best not discussed in good company. It’s not: it’s the title of a 1945 movie that is one of my favorites, despite the fact that it's pretty bloody awful.
That's right: for me it falls into that "It's so bad, it's good" category. You might just think it's bad! And, yeah, I even paid money to buy the DVD.

White Pongo tells the story of a quest to find the truth of a legendary – some say folkloric – white gorilla said to live deep in the heart of the Belgian Congo and which is reputed to be the missing link between man and the apes.
The movie begins as a local tribe prepares to kill an unfortunate soul, a man named Gunderson. Fortunately, Gunderson is saved from the clutches of the Grim Reaper by the sudden appearance of a huge, albino ape, which proceeds to attack the tribespeople.
During the mayhem, a Professor Gerig, who lives with the tribe, quickly gives Gunderson a journal that tells of the findings of a now-deceased colleague of the scientist, a man named Dierdorf, who was obsessed with finding the truth of the White Pongo.

Gunderson finally makes his way, after an arduous, jungle trek, to a village-like environment  on the Congo River. Just before dying from fever, he hands over the priceless journal to a group of adventurers and explorers, more than a few over from England.
They decide to launch an expedition, one that will, finally, and once and for all, figure out the truth of the legendary creature. They succeed in doing exactly that, but not before we see the immense beast doing battle with a regular gorilla and kidnapping one of the party: namely, shapely Pamela.
Echoing King Kong of 1933, Pamela is freed from the clutches of the White Pongo and it's good news for everyone - except, of course, for the legendary white ape.

Rather oddly, an almost identical movie, The White Gorilla, was made in the very same year.

Evidently, for some unknown reason, albino apes, running amok in jungle environments, were all the rage in 1945.

Should you watch White Pongo? Sure, why not? Nothing wrong with an hour or so of mindless, over the top, hokum!

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