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Theatrical poster to Ingagi
Directed byWilliam Campbell
Produced byWilliam D. Alexander
Nat Spitzer (executive)
Written byAdam Shirk
StarringCharlie Gemora as Ingagi
Music byEdward Gage
CinematographyL. Gillingham
Distributed byCongo Pictures
Release date
  • March 15, 1930 (1930-03-15)
Running time
75 min
CountryUnited States
Box office$4 million

Ingagi is a 1930 Pre-Code exploitation film. It purports to be a documentary about "Sir Hubert Winstead" of London on an expedition to the Belgian Congo, and depicts a tribe of gorilla-worshiping women encountered by the explorer. The film claims to show a ritual in which African women are given over to gorillas as sex slaves, but in actuality was mostly filmed in Los Angeles, using white actresses in blackface in place of natives.[1] It was produced and distributed by Nat Spitzer's Congo Pictures, which had been formed expressly to make the film.[2] Although marketed under the pretense of being an ethnographic film, the premise was a fabrication, leading the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association to retract any involvement with the film.[3]

The film trades heavily on its nudity and on the suggestion of sex between a woman and a gorilla. Its success motivated RKO Radio Pictures to invest in the 1933 film, King Kong.[citation needed] RKO owned several of the theatres where Ingagi was shown, including one of the first, the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, where it opened April 5, 1930.[2][4]

The later Son of Ingagi (1940) is not a sequel but is the first all-black cast horror movie and features a house haunted by a female mad scientist and her missing link monster.

The film is not lost, contrary to popular belief due to it not being released on home video or shown on television. Three nitrate prints are held at The Library of Congress.[citation needed]


The three Prints owned by the Library of Congress aren't available to the general public. All 8 Vitaphone disc have been found by fans and are now available on YouTube.[citation needed] 96-seconds of the film are included in Documentary Charlie Gemora: Uncredited.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Doherty. pgs. 236, 241
  2. ^ a b Illegitimate dad of 'Kong'
  3. ^ Doherty. pgs. 238–40
  4. ^ Gerald Perry, "Missing Links: The Jungle Origins of King Kong"


  • Berenstein, Rhona J. "White Heroines and Hearts of Darkness: Race, Gender and Disguise in 1930s Jungle Films", in Film History Vol. 6 No. 3 (Autumn 1994), Exploitation Films, pp. 314–339 (Published by Indiana University Press); Stable URL:
  • Doherty, Thomas Patrick. Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in American Cinema 1930-1934. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-231-11094-4

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