FERNANDO’s CORNER ~ posted January 29th, 2018
Some days ago I revisited this highly entertaining, engrossing drama-horror film about an insanely jealous husband (Lionel Atwill), an eccentric and megalomaniacal millionaire (a-la- Colin Clive as ‘Bruce Vail’ in “History Is Made At Night”) who is fond of capturing animals in the jungle and getting rid of his unfaithful, flirtatious wife’s (Kathleen Burke) lovers in very “sophisticated ways.” At the very beginning of director A. Edward Sutherland’s “MURDERS IN THE ZOO” we get to see him sewing shut the mouth of a man who has dared try to kiss his wife. The man is later abandoned alone in the jungle with his hands tied and then is killed and eaten by tigers.
On board the ship back to the USA, his wife lures another admirer (John Lodge), but this time she tries to be more cautious. Atwill is en route to give the animals he’s captured to a municipal zoo in which doctor Randolph Scott works with his fiancée (Gail Patrick ~ in the role of nice gal, for a change).
Lionel Atwill and Kathleen Burke
Kathleen Burke, notorious for playing the “Panther Woman” in that year’s “Island of Lost Souls”, is a completely alluring, feline and exotic beauty; an enticing female indeed. Jane Darwell is featured (uncredited) in a dinner scene as a society matron. Charlie Ruggles plays a dipsomaniac press agent hired by the zoo and supplies comic relief, showing his fear for all the snakes, lions, tigers, crocodiles et al.
Handsome settings and art direction. The most impressive layout IMO is the gigantic pool beneath a wooden bridge, full of voracious alligators. There’s an incredible scene in which animals are let loose by Atwill which is amazingly well-done.
Go to Fernando’s Corner to see his other Paramount entries.
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