Cast & Crew
In Africa, Arthur, a doctor, his brother Jack and their friend Cyril listen as the dying maharajah Parsta relates the story of how misfortune reduced him to being an impoverished hunting guide: As a young maharajah, Parsta is on a hunting expedition in India when he encounters Rani, the beautiful daughter of Rajan, a village leader. Parsta makes a deal with Rajan to buy Rani, although she is already betrothed to another. When Rani refuses to become the maharajah's bride and runs off into the jungle, Parsta and his men pursue her, but many are killed or maimed by animals controlled by a mystical young man reared among them. Parsta survives but is financially ruined and wanders the world until settling in Africa and becoming a guide. Returning to the present, Parsta reminds Arthur and Jack that, three years earlier, when he was a member of an expedition, a gorilla mauled him, crushed his chest and left him for dead. He explains that Velda, a young woman reared by the gorilla tribe, found Parsta and attacked him for having wounded the gorilla, but, after overpowering her, Parsta brought her to Arthur's compound, where the young doctor since has been studying her. Knowing that Velda and Jack have since fallen in love and intend to join Arthur on a journey into the jungle, Parsta warns them that the trip may cause Velda to regress to a primitive state. As he dies, Parsta gives Arthur a symbolic, eye-like stone to return to the jungle. Later, Arthur, Jack, Velda and Cyril begin their journey as Arthur struggles with the question of whether evolution has any basis and ponders on Velda's past with the gorillas. Arthur also ponders on his recollection that ten years earlier two missionaries were killed on safari and their young daughter disappeared. Although Jack tells Velda that he wants to take her to America, she responds that she would prefer that they remain in Africa. Meanwhile Cyril has been taking photos and movies of the different natives they encounter. When a lion threatens them, Velda uses her strange relationship with the animals to stop the attack. In the middle of the jungle, they come upon a large, concrete stadium where several groups of native dancers are performing. After Velda identifies one of the dances as pertaining to the gorilla tribe, a native tells Jack that Velda has been recognized and must be returned to the tribe. When Arthur and the others leave, six natives, led by a renegade white man named Nairobi Smith pursue them. Both groups exchange gunfire until Arthur thrashes Smith and Velda terrifies the natives by showing them Parsta's eye stone. Velda then kills Smith with a spear. Eventually, the group reaches the last village before gorilla country, and Arthur and the other men visit the chief, whom Arthur knows, leaving Velda alone. After photographing some of the activities around the village, they discover that Velda is missing and surmise that she encountered an old gorilla friend, who carried her off. The men try to follow her trail, but one night while guarding their camp, Cyril is attacked and killed by a gorilla. Later, after witnessing a fight to the death between two gorillas, Arthur and Jack follow the winner to an area where several native women are mingling with gorillas. After Jack and Arthur spot Velda, Arthur attempts to hold off two attacking gorillas with his rifle, enabling Jack and Velda to escape, but is mauled to death. Another gorilla kills Jack and then carries Velda away, back to her past.
F. E. Miller
Walter B. Eason
Arthur Trevenning Harris M.d.
Arthur Trevenning Harris M.d.
William L. Nolte
Paul L. Peil
Paul L. Peil
T. T. Triplett
Although the main title includes a "Copyright MCMLIII by Howco Productions, Inc." statement, the film was not registered for copyright at the time of its release. The date on the film's copyright statement possibly was a typographical error for 1958. However, Carr Mond Productions did register the film for copyright on February 9, 1988, under the number PA 355-027. Copyright records for the 1988 registration indicate that the film was first released on August 5, 1960 and that alternate titles were The Black Panther and Law of the Jungle. Reviews and records in the NYSA indicate that Untamed Mistress was exhibited, perhaps in very limited release, as early as 1957.
Some of the footage in Untamed Mistress, specifically the adventures of the maharajah, came from a twenty-six minute pilot for a television series, The Black Panther, in which the actor Sabu appeared. The Black Panther was registered for copyright protection on February 11, 1957, based on a cutting continuity dated October 30, 1956. A modern source states that when Sabu objected to his footage from the television pilot being used in Untamed Mistress, all of his scenes were discarded. However, Sabu is alluded to in the feature-length version.
Although he is billed in the credits of Untamed Mistress, Rick Vallin does not appear in the print viewed; however, he portrayed "Rani's" betrothed in The Black Panther.
Johnnie "John" Marlin was not seen in the print viewed, but it is likely that he was inside one of the gorilla suits, as he played a similar role in Phantom of the Rue Morgue.
Untamed Mistress contains a considerable amount of home movie-type footage of African fauna "seen" by the members of the expedition, although the actors were confined to a jungle set on a small sound stage. At one point, in the middle of the "jungle," the characters come upon a large concrete stadium in which native dancers are performing. Additional footage, featuring 'topless' African-American women alongside performers in gorilla suits, appears to have been shot in the U.S.