“The White Gorilla” was released in 1945 and was directed by Harry L. Fraser. The film is 62 minutes long.
Explaining the movie is difficult since most of the footage has nothing to do with the white gorilla. Most of the film is actually part of a silent serial called “Perils of the Jungle” 1927. Both the serial and the cut and paste movie were written by Harry Fraser. The film hackers took “Perils of the Jungle”, added narration, and cut in some new sound footage to try to create a whole new film. No attempt was made to make any improvements or restoration to the old silent 1927 film before incorporating it into the 1945 wrap around footage. This resulted in parts of the film being both grainy and at a faster speed than the newer footage. Fraser basically cannibalized his own movie.
This is not the first time a wrap around was done to make an old movie into something else. The same technique, if you want to call it that, was done on "Mesa of Lost Women" 1953, only this one doesn't have an annoying guitar score.
In the new footage Steve Collins (Ray Corrigan) stumbles into a trading post injured and half dead. He has a wild tale to tell. At the trading post are Mr. Stacey (Francis Ford), Hutton (George J. Lewis) and J. Morgan (Charles King). While he rests Collins tells the story of what happened to him in the jungle.
Collins was a jungle guide taking a man named Bradford into the jungle. He describes the events that happened to Bradford and of his own encounter with the white gorilla. The gorilla had been ostracized by the black gorillas because of its color. The white gorilla became mean and attacked anything on two legs be it gorilla or human. Collins barely got away from the gorilla.
Some plot elements were kept from the old serial and used as part of the new plot for “White Gorilla”. Bradford and another guy are saved from being killed by a small jungle boy. Bradford saves a woman named Phyllis Marley from a hippo attack. Her father, Alexander Marley, is blind. He and his guide Handley had been looking for the cave of the Cyclops because they heard there is a treasure there guarded by an idol called the Cyclops. Hanley wants it for himself and tries to kill everybody.
All of the pasted in stuff is narrated by Corrigan. To explain why he is never in the parts of the movie that Bradford is in they come up with lame excuses that make Corrigan look like a wimp hiding in the bushes. The only new footage actually added was anything with the gorilla, the trading post and Corrigan. Corrigan gets to play three parts in this film, Steve Collins, the gorilla and the narrator. Nowadays narration is used as a plot devise. In the forties and fifties it was used instead of a plot.
There are some reports that a lot of the serial has been lost but there is another report that all episodes of “Perils of the Jungle” survive and are in the UCLA Film and Television archives. The silent serial has never been released on DVD which is unfortunate. The kicker is that, from surviving footage that is available on line, “Perils of the Jungle” looks far more interesting than “White Gorilla”.
There is another “Perils of the Jungle” that was made in 1953 staring Clyde Beatty and Phyllis Coates but it has nothing to do with the silent serial.