Cinematic Skill And Style Completely Passed By This Juvenile Piece.
25 February 2012
For this low budgeted film, the sixth in Columbia Pictures' Jungle Jim series, based upon a long-running comic strip of Alex Raymond, creator also of "Flash Gordon" and others, Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) is able to save an about to drown aircraft pilot, Ronald Cameron (William Henry) whose plane has crashed and sunk beneath a pond into which Jim is about to plunge. Cameron, who might not be the police inspector whom he claims to be, is tracking a missing biology professor who had been field researching an unique beast, the "okongo", that the script's pages describe as some type of hybrid between an antelope and a zebra. While local natives venerate this creature, "evil white" hunters plan to capture the entire herd because the okongo's digestive system transmutes, in some mysterious fashion, its favourite food plant into a powerful and, to be sure, potentially lucrative narcotic drug. These "evil whites" force the men of the local tribe to assist them in locating the okongos, leaving the tribeswomen to call upon Jungle Jim to stop the invaders from absconding with the entire host of the beasts. As champion of the females, Jim confronts numerous perils, from both human and animal adversaries. These include a savage fight to the death at close quarters with a leopard (utilizing footage with a stunt double used regularly for previously released Jungle Jim adventures), a struggle with a "giant desert spider" (obviously a garden hose garnished with palm fronds), and a group of the hostile white men to whom Jim is simply an inconvenience (although one spotlessly attired, whose clothing bears not the least sign of the brutal combat with the leopard, or of the ground-hugging opposition offered by the oversize spider, from which no living being could have reasonably been expected to escape). The film is shot in Southern California locations that bear scant resemblance to the scenario's purported African Congo. Nor does the assorted collection of Central Casting extras, comprised in the main of flabby Filipinos and Hispanics, match the expected appearance of indigenous Africans. These worthies, all barefoot, move with ever so much care through the locations' hard-rock strewn terrain during the course of the work's repetitive scenes of the varying characters who are tirelessly walking for no ostensible purpose. There is yet more for a viewer to chuckle over here: the okongos are only ponies stabled at Corriganville, an often used site for Western movies, and have stripes painted sloppily over their flanks; in order for Jim to be trusted by female members of the tribe, he must know the "tribal sign", and he of course does; his omnipresent pet chimpanzee, here named Kanga, in a clearly unplanned adaptation from the script, swings by way of vine, knocking Jim into a mud puddle, that is then labelled as "quicksand". There is a good deal more of such foolishness, but no advantage is to be gained by flogging a dead okongo for this haphazardly edited, listlessly directed affair that relies upon stock footage and scoring with the entire assemblage of players chasing each other about to no design during the movie's closing one quarter of an hour, or so.
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