The Wild Women of Wongo

The Wild Women of Wongo from 1958, is an oddball cult favorite.

Mother Nature, narrating the opening sequence, decides to try out a little experiment on a remote tropical island, which is actually Miami, Florida, near Coconut Grove.

Two different primitive tribes inhabit opposite sides of the island -- the Wongo, where the women are beautiful and their men are not, and the Goona, with handsome men and not so handsome women. Somehow, they have never met before, even though they are only a short canoe ride away.

Anyway, a tribe of ape men attack, causing the two tribes to meet for the first time.
The Wongo women practically swoon over the newly discovered hunks from Goona and decide the grass is definitely greener on the other side of the island.
Mayhem and merriment ensue.

This movie was what could be called a one-non-hit wonder because almost no one associated with this picture had any kind of Hollywood career.

This was Cedric Rutherford's only completed project screenplay. This was the director’s first effort and it took Hollywood a while to get over it.

It was 9 years before the director got another chance, when he assembled The Best of Laurel and Hardy. Those were the only 2 films in his career.

And of all the other actors and actresses in the feature, only 2 ever made another screen appearance.

One is Joyce Nizzari, who had the longest career of the cast & crew. We’re not sure which native she is because she’s only credited as a Woman of Wongo.

This was her first screen role and she did go on to appear in several movies & TV shows: The Candidate, The Great Race, 7 Days in May, The Beverly Hillbillies, Hawaii 5-0, Green Acres and Petticoat Junction.

And in December 1958, she was Playboy Playmate of the month. After her Playmate appearance, she dated Hugh Hefner for a few years, and worked as a Bunny at the first Playboy Club in Chicago. In the late 1990s Joyce returned to the Playboy family full-time as one of Hefner's assistants in the Playboy Mansion.

The other actress who appeared in more than just this film was Adrienne Bourbeau, playing Wana. She made a total of 2 appearances on 1960s TV shows.

A highlight of the movie for me is the dance in the temple of the dragon god. It was choreographed by Olga Suarez, who gets a screen credit for her work.

She also plays the over-the-top priestess who wears a dead lizard for a bracelet and has a strange teleptahic connection with the dragon god. But she just can’t seem to do a thing with her hair.

After watching the temple dance, you’ll understand why this was her one & only job as a choreographer. The dance rehearsals must have been hysterical.

Also intriguing is how the characters’ language skills improve as the movie moves along. In the beginning, they sound like Tarzan (Me, Tarzan, you, Jane) but by the end of the movie they’ve somehow learned to speak in full sentences.

And it contains what has to be the longest tranquilized alligator wrestling scene ever caught on film.

This chauvinistic piece of camp contains the usual dreadful acting and senseless screenplay of a typical 1950s drive-in movie.

It shares a lot of the same music soundtrack as Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, widely recognized as the worst movie ever made.

The script is laughable (hopefully on purpose) , the acting is absolutely horrible and you may re-think ever wanting to own a parrot.

But The Wild Women of Wongo has dragons, talking parrots, actors mugging for the camera and a dragon god temple presided over by a wacked out priestess.

What more can you ask for?