John Bromfield and Beverly Garland star in CURUCU, BEAST OF THE AMAZON, directed by Curt Siodmak for Universal Pictures.

Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956, Curt Siodmak)

Siodmak sure does love his medium shots. He uses the same medium shot for every indoor scene in Curucu, which, along with the atrocious acting and writing, brings some regularity to the film.

I’ve wanted to see this one since I was a kid, mostly because of the excellent poster. It’s strangely unavailable from Universal, even though it’s one of their fifties monster movies. Well, not exactly. It spends most of its running time acting as a travelogue for Brazil and propaganda for missionaries. The native peoples who don’t accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior are evil morons. They’re so moronic, they even have a chief (Tom Payne) who’s wearing blackface. Brown face. Whatever.

Amusingly, priest Harvey Chalk is one of the creepiest priests I can think of in a movie. His performance is awful, but he’s also really creepy.

The acting in Curucu is uniformly horrendous. When budgeting Curucu, which shot on location in Brazil, Universal must not have been paying for cast. They also don’t seem to have wanted to pay for audio–the majority of the running time, Raoul Kraushaar’s terrible score is blaring.

But besides Siodmak (it’s hard to believe this guy wrote The Wolf Man), the fault mostly lies with leading man John Bromfield. Rarely does one get to see such a terrible performance in a theatrical release. Love interest Beverly Garland is bad too.

Save as a cultural artifact (Curucu endeavors to be misogynistic), there’s no reason to subject oneself to this film.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Written and directed by Curt Siodmak; director of photography, Rudolf Icsey; edited by Terry O. Morse; music by Raoul Kraushaar; produced by Richard Kay and Harry Rybnick; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring John Bromfield (Rock Dean), Beverly Garland (Dr. Andrea Romar), Tom Payne (Tupanico), Harvey Chalk (Father Flaviano), Larri Thomas (Vivian), Wilson Viana (Tico) and Sérgio de Oliveira (Captain of Police).


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