Gunderson (Milton Kibee) is a scientist who escapes from a native tribe in the Congo. He is aided by another scientist who is living with the natives. Gunderson makes it back to a settlement where he succumbs to a jungle fever. Before he dies he passes on a diary from a colleague that talks about a white gorilla. This gorilla is supposedly the missing link between apes and humans. Apparently all albino gorillas are missing links of some kind or other. At the settlement are other scientists and anthropologists want to find the white gorilla. They call the animal a White Pongo.
Sir Harry Bragdon (Gordon Richards) and his secretary Clive Carswell (Michael Dyne) get together a safari to search for the animal. Sir Harry’s daughter Pamela (Maris Wrixon) is one of the members of the group. Carswell is in love with Pamela. She, on the other hand, is interested in one of the guards, Geoffrey Bishop (Richard Fraser). Their guide is Hans Kroegert (Al Eben).
The team sets off and eventually reaches the tribe that held Gunderson captive. The other white man is still living with the natives. He gives Sir Harry information on the gorilla and where it, at one time, had been captured. With the natives getting restless (sorry) the safari once again takes to their canoes and then on foot. Eventually they find the spot where the gorilla was first encountered. At that point the team doesn’t know that the white gorilla has been following them ever since they met up with the natives.
Amazingly out of the jungle they manage to create an entire stockade surrounding nicely appointed huts. When Pamela tries to seduce Geoffrey, Carswell gets pissed. Knowing that Hans is up to something he throws in with him provided he can kidnap Pamela whether she likes it or not. Hans is after some gold that is in the area. He and a native sidekick with the unfortunate name of Mumbo Jumbo (Joel Fluellen) (sigh) take over the safari. They tie up all the non criminals and high tail it out of the jungle with Pamela in tow.
Geoffrey turns out to be an agent for the Rhodesian Secret Service on the lookout for some murderers that killed a bunch of prospectors in the area. Hans ended up being head murderer. Hans and his minions think they are getting away but not far behind them are Geoffrey and the good guys. And so is White Pongo.
“White Pongo” was released in 1945 and was directed by Sam Newfield. Produced by poverty row’s Producers Releasing Corporation it is your basic jungle trekking footage movie and gorillasploitation film. With stock footage aplenty and zoo sounds for background it’s a fun time in the jungle.
Gorilla fans rejoice. The gorilla was played by Ray “Crash” Corrigan. Ray knows more about acting like a gorilla than most gorillas. Ray owned his own gorilla suits. After he retired his suits were still being used by other performers. The white gorilla suit in the movie was also used as the abominable snowman suit in Jerry Warren’s “Man Beast” 1956.
As far as African jungle movies are concerned this one isn’t the worst I’ve seen. It’s been trashed as having a bad plot. Actually it has no plot. It’s just people walking through a jungle, People paddling on a river through a jungle, and people hanging out in the jungle. Rumor has it most of the film was shot in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden. That actually sounds like fun.