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White Witch Doctor

White Witch Doctor(1953)

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According to a December 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item, Louise A. Stinetorf's best-selling novel was to appear in condensed form in Ladies' Home Journal. According to a September 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item, writer Michael Wilson had been working on the screenplay for White Witch Doctor but was laid off by Twentieth Century-Fox after being subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The extent of Wilson's contribution to the completed picture, if any, has not been determined. A November 4, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Roy Baker, who directed the film's African background footage, was originally set to direct the entire film but "contracted an intestinal virus" during his trip to Africa. For the majority of filming, Baker was replaced by Henry Hathaway. When cinematographer Leon Shamroy fell ill, he was temporarily replaced by Joe MacDonald, according to a December 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item.
       Jay Brooks and William Washington are included in the cast by Hollywood Reporter news items, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A October 24, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Roland Winters had been added to the cast, but he does not appear in the completed picture. Lillian West, who plays "Dr. Mary," is seen only as a corpse. In addition to the extensive background filming in the Belgian Congo, portions of the film were shot on location at the studio's ranch in Calabasas, CA. Robert Mitchum was borrowed from RKO for the production. According to studio publicity, technical advisor Dr. Conway T. Wharton, a longtime missionary in Africa, taught the cast Tcheluba, the African language spoken in the film. Members of the Bakuba, Wagania, Mangbetu and Pygmy tribes appeared in the African footage, according to studio publicity. A modern source reports that Tim Wallace served as Robert Mitchum's stand-in. The picture marked the American film debut of Nigerian actor Mashood Ajala.