The Bride and the Beast (Reviewed by Lisa Marie Bowman)

The 1958 film, The Bride and the Beast, tells the story of newlyweds Dan (Lance Fuller) and Laura Fuller (Charlotte Austin).  Dan is an overly macho and chauvinistic big game hunter who is so into hunting and capturing animals that he even keeps a gorilla named Sparky in the basement of his home.  When Sparky gets loose and tries to attack Laura, Dan is forced to shoot him.

Laura, however, cannot stop thinking about Sparky and soon, she’s having dreams about her past life as a gorilla.  Because Dan doesn’t believe that his wife was once a gorilla, he takes her to the jungles of Africa for their honeymoon.  While Dan proves himself to be not quite the ideal romantic husband by keeping himself busy by hunting a killer tiger, Laura finds herself being drawn back to her former existence as the Queen of the Gorillas.  Dan may be able to save his camp from the tiger but will he be able to save his wife from the primates that want her for their bride?

This very low-budget film, which is full of stock footage and sets that wobble whenever any of the actors bump into them, has gained some attention in recent years because the script was written by Edward D. Wood, Jr.  As such, there’s a scene in which Laura undergoes hypnosis and delivers a monologue about how much she loves her angora sweater.  (“It felt like the fur of a small kitten.”)  The nonsensical plot and dialogue could only have come from Ed Wood.  Unfortunately, Wood himself didn’t direct the film.  That job falls to Adrian Weiss and, as a result, the film’s direction doesn’t feature any of the quirky weirdness that one typically associates with a Wood production.  The film gets off to a good start, with Dan revealing that he keeps a gorilla in his basement but, once the action moves to the jungle, things start to drag as Weiss takes a bland and workmanlike approach to a story that demanded a more imaginative approach.

The film does conclude on an enjoyably odd note, one in which overly macho Dan discovers that it takes more than a rifle and a hunting hat to be king of the jungle.  In the end, though, this film is mostly just for Ed Wood completists.

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