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With: Charlotte Austin, Lance Fuller, Johnny Roth, William Justine, Gil Frye, Jeanne Gerson, Steve Calvert, Trustin Howard/Slick Slavin, Eve Brent/Jean Ann Lewis, Bhogwan Singh
Written by: Edward D. Wood Jr., Adrian Weiss
Directed by: Adrian Weiss
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 79
Date: 02/23/1958

The Bride and the Beast (1958)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Ape of Things to Come

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Ed Wood's screenplay for this bizarre jungle movie was produced the year before his Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). A woman (the beautiful Charlotte Austin) may have been a gorilla in a past life. (A doctor hypnotizes her and we see a "flashback.") When her new husband (Lance Fuller) takes her on a safari, her strange bond with the savage beasts takes on a new dimension. And who can forget that ending? It's absolutely ridiculous, of course, but the movie is rife with Wood's singularly peculiar dialogue and obsessions (yes, the angora sweaters are here), as well as reams of stock footage. Director Adrian Weiss does a better job meshing all this stuff together than his more infamous colleague would have, and the performances as a whole are stronger than in Wood's films. But it's unmistakably Wood's project, and a must-see for his fans.

DVD Details: The Bride and the Beast has been released on DVD before, but this one from VCI Entertainment is the ultimate. It comes with a commentary track by Ms. Austin, film historians Tom Weaver and Bob Burns, and "Slick" Slavin, who has a small part in the film. (Ms. Austin says it was one of the worst scripts she ever read, but that she needed the money.) The disc comes with a second feature, The White Gorilla (1945), which was partially cobbled together from an old, silent-era serial (Perils of the Jungle). The disc comes with the complete, surviving silent-era footage of that film, a slew of other, jungle-related film trailers, bios and photo galleries.

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