Sometimes the best movies are the older black and white movies from back in the day. The other day mom was flipping through the television guide and came across a movie that intrigued her. She told us that we *had* to watch this movie. We were intrigued so popcorn and drinks in paw, hoof and hand, we bundled together in the living room and watched it.
The movie was called The Alligator People and it was released in July 1959. It’s a classic black and white starring Beverly Garland, Lon Chaney Jr and Bruce Bennett. The name sounds interesting, right? It starts with two psychiatrists talking about nurse, Jane Marvin, in the office. They administer pentothal to her and put her in a deep hypnosis where she recalls a forgotten past when she was known as Joyce.
Joyce recalls just being married to her love, Paul Webster, and they are on a train for their honeymoon. They receive several telegrams congratulating them on their nuptials. But one telegram, Paul opens, reads and immediately starts to panic. At the next train stop, he leaves the train to make a phone call without a single word to his new bride and never returns. Of course Joyce gets off at the next time and back tracks to the stop that Paul got off but she can’t find him. So there she is, newly married but now her husband is missing. What happen?
Joyce hires private detectives and over the next following months she tries to track down her husband. One day, she discovers an address for Paul in some college enrollment forms at Cypresses Plantation. She writes a letter to the plantation but it comes back unopened. Not giving up, she takes a train to the plantation which is in the middle swamp country in Louisiana. She gets off the train and the stop is empty except for a large crate that is marked Cypresses Plantation. Thinking that someone has to come sooner or later to pick up the crate, she waits. This is when the handyman for the plantation (played by Lon Chaney) shows up to retrieve the box. She hops a ride back to the plantation with him and the fun starts.
At first, the owner of the plantation and the staff deny knowing Paul Webster. They tell Joyce that she has to leave but the train doesn’t pick up until the next morning. The woman over the plantation tells Joyce that she can spend the night but she has to stay in her room and can’t come out. Of course we know that’s not going to happen, right? Joyce comes out of the room later that night when she hears someone playing beautiful music on the piano in the parlor. She creeps down and into the parlor. She sees a man playing the piano but when she says something to him, he quickly leaves. This makes Joyce more determined than anything that there is something go on at the plantation.
She confronts the owner of the plantation again the next morning. That’s when she learns that the owner is actually Paul Webster’s mom. Can you imagine?! And Paul Webster – where is he? Well apparently he was in a very bad accident before he and Joyce got married. But his body was perfect when they got married so who would have thought that. The mysterious telegram he got on the train? Well, it was from one of his doctors from when he was in the accident. That doctor had used a drug that he had created from alligators that made the body whole again. The downfall that the doctor realized though was the drug would also turn the individual into Alligator People!
This is an awesome movie for sure. Yes it’s in black and white. BUT back in the day, they really knew how to write movies and dialogue. The imaging graphics aren’t as good as the ones today but the story held its own and was good. I gave it 3 hooves up out of 4. I would have given it 4 but then I would have tumbled over. I highly recommend this movie – if you find it, watch it and let me know what you think my friends.