THE WILD WOMEN OF WONGO a film by JAMES L. WALCOTT (1958) (Triton DVD)

 |   |  2 min read

THE WILD WOMEN OF WONGO a film by JAMES L. WALCOTT (1958) (Triton DVD)

Everyone is allowed their guilty secrets when it comes to bad movies: I have an unnatural affection for Zardoz (Sean Connery in the future somewhere) and The Long Ships (in which Sidney Poitier seems to swim from somewhere Moorish to the land of the Vikings).

These are stupid but fun and allow you plenty of couchtime to add up the continuity errors and so on.

The Wild Women of Wongo is something else again, and here is a the spoiler alert: it has no redeeming features.

It may be one of those film which isn't so bad it is good, just simply so bad it is awful.

But the story about it -- and its wafer-thin plotline -- makes for some interest: apparently the director Walcott was an accountant who quit his job to make this odd piece of quasi-Pacifica escapism (Florida actually) where one village has handsome men and ugly women and the other (Wongo) has . . . you guessed it.

Of course the twain meet when a handsome prince ends up in Wongo and the ugly thuggers try to do away with him. They are an odd bunch with weirdly blue hair and one guy looks like Monty Burns from The Simpsons. The ugly women are pretty brutal on the eye also.

wild_women_1   The beautiful women of course look like perfect Fifties housewives, except in leopard skins and skimpy outfits. All the men are bronzed (the handsome ones chesty).

   There is some primitive worship of The Dragon God (cue library footage of a small alligator) and more fake ritual than in an episode of Survivor. Among the highlights are a mad dance sequence by the women at the temple (early interpretive dance by a one-time Broadway dancer, be warned).

   The men earnestly declaim every line (in accents which seem to shift from some imagined Congo in Tahiti to Southern California) and there is even a parrot which comes in with comments or squawks during cutaways.

Howlingly bad -- with cat fights!

And did I mention there are mysterious Ape Men who rarely even appear, a fight with The Dragon God (which seems seriously sedated or an inflatable mock-up) and a final few minutes which will have you howling with laughter and disbelief?

wild_3The godawful Wild Women of Wongo has been released in a package with two shorts: Supervising Women Workers from 1944 (described as the most sexist film ever made, you be the judge) and The Relaxed Wife of 1957 which was a somewhat surreal film (with a commentary in rhyming couplets) to promote a tranquilizer called Atarax designed the make you more at ease in the busy, problem-filled world you are forced to endure.

Weirdness abounds.

The package comes with an eight page booklet and in cover art by the Australian illustrator Graeme Dickinson.

I hope he asked for money and not a copy of the DVD. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

PHILIP DADSON: SONICS FROM SCRATCH, a doco by SIMON OGSTON and ORLANDO STEWART

PHILIP DADSON: SONICS FROM SCRATCH, a doco by SIMON OGSTON and ORLANDO STEWART

Even if Philip Dadson's name is not as well known as it should be outside of academic and sonic art music areas, many New Zealanders would respond to just two words: From Scratch. The... > Read more

JAMDOWN, a film by EMMANUEL BONN (MVD DVD)

JAMDOWN, a film by EMMANUEL BONN (MVD DVD)

This unfocused and largely haphazard film -- part travel footage, part film of reggae artists, some political subtext hinted at -- dates from 1980 when French filmmaker Bonn took a camera to... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE MANY DEATHS OF MARY DOBIE, by DAVID HASTINGS

THE MANY DEATHS OF MARY DOBIE, by DAVID HASTINGS

As with many compelling stories – from Truman Capote's In Cold Blood through film-noir – this one begins with a murder. And from it, both backwards and forwards, the narrative... > Read more

EPs by Shani.O

EPs by Shani.O

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more