Curucu, Beast of the Amazon
Curucu, Beast of the Amazon is a 1956 American adventure/monster film, directed and written by Curt Siodmak and starring John Bromfield, Beverly Garland and Tom Payne. The title creature is pronounced "Koo-Ruh-SOO" (Portuguese: Curuçu). The film was distributed in the United States as a double feature with The Mole People.
|Curucu, Beast of the Amazon|
Film poster by Reynold Brown
|Directed by||Curt Siodmak|
|Produced by||Richard Kay|
|Written by||Curt Siodmak|
|Music by||Raoul Kraushaar|
|Edited by||Terry Morse|
|Distributed by||Universal International|
Plantation owner Rock Dean (Bromfield) travels up the Amazon River to investigate why the workers have left in panic. Dean's guide, Tupanico (Payne) warns him of Curucu, a birdlike monster who is said to live up the river where no white man has ever been. Accompanying him is Dr. Andrea Romar (Garland), in search of a drug which (in this story) the natives use to shrink heads. She hopes this drug will be effective in reducing cancerous tissue.
Tupanico guides the couple through the jungle, where they see a strange shimmering form in the river which drives the bearers away. After Rock shoots an animal, Tupanico offers to clean his rifle for him. Rock reluctantly agrees.
Later, Curucu attacks. Rock shoots at it, with no effect. The monster is revealed to be Tupanico, who is trying to drive "his" people away from the plantations, where he can lead them in the old ways, before white men brought civilization and disease. Tupanico used the excuse of cleaning Rock's rifle to load it with blanks.
Before they can be killed, Rock and Andrea are rescued by natives friendly to the local missionary. After wandering lost in the jungle in the commotion, Andrea wakens to find herself and Rock at the mission. A grateful native, whom she treated earlier, gives her some gifts: the shrinking drug she was searching for, and the shrunken head of Tupanico.
Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, calling it "one of the most infamous disappointments for monster-loving kids of the 1950s". On his website Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings, Dave Sindelar gave the film a negative review, criticizing the film for using too much talking and exploring scenes just to fill its running time. Sindelar also noted that the only thing the film had going for it was Garland's "tough girl" character, but also wrote, "Unfortunately, the movie decides to punish her for her toughness; the last 30 minutes of the movie seems designed solely to frighten this woman into realizing that it'’s arrogant of her to think of herself as being as tough as a man".TV Guide awarded the film 1 out of 5 stars, calling it "a moderately amusing jungle adventure".
- McGee, Mark Thomas; Robertson, R.J. (2013). "You Won't Believe Your Eyes". Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-273-2. Page 254
- Weaver, Tom (2000). Return of the B Science Fiction and Horror Heroes: The Mutant Melding of Two Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 308. ISBN 978-0-7864-0755-2.
- Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties by Bill Warren
- Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
- Sindelar, Dave. "Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956)". FantasticMovieMusings.com. Dave Sindelar. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- "Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon". tvguide.com. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
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