Bomba the Jungle Boy finds a wounded lion dying a slow and painful death, he finds a group on safari trapping lions for sale to zoos, which were unable to obtain such animals during the war. Tom Forbes, accompanied by his daughter Jean, is traveling downstream to join his business partner Marty Martin, who has already captured several beasts for shipment. As Bomba sets out to release the animals as soon as they are captured, he gains an ally in Jean Forbes whom he convinces the capturing and display of animals is wrong. Martin is bent on succeeding however, even if it means killing the Jungle Boy.Written by
Ann E. Todd, who plays Bomba's "love interest" Jean, was a moderately successful child actress of her era, who had featured roles in dozens of films, including the Shirley Temple version of The Blue Bird, How Green Was My Valley and King's Row. She did not make the transition to adult roles, and Lion Hunters was her next-to-last appearance on screen. See more »
You know, Dad, I've had the strangest feeling for the past few minutes that we're being watched from cover.
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THE LION HUNTERS (Monogram, 1951), directed and screenplay by Ford Beebe, based on the character created by Roy Rockwood in the "Bomba" books, stars Bomba, the Jungle Boy as portrayed by Johnny Sheffield. An average production and fifth entry to the "Bomba" franchise, its not only routine material but the longest (82 minutes) in the series.
Rather than the usual camera tracking opening of animals and jungle scenery, the story immediately introduces Bomba (Johnny Sheffield), followed by his playing with some baby cubs as observed by its mother. Moments later at a distance, Bomba finds the father lion shot and near death. To prevent it from suffering, Bomba sadly puts a spear to him. He then goes about to find the one responsible. At first he believes it to be one of the Masai tribe, until, after communicating with animals in their own language, finds there's a jungle expedition consisting of Forbes (Morris Ankrum), his teenage daughter, Jean (Ann Todd), Jonas (Smoki Whitfeield), the guide, and Martin (Douglas Kennedy) with permit to capture lions to sell. As the lions are captured and caged, Bomba releases them one by one, much to the chagrin of the money hungry Martin. During the course of time, Bomba befriends Jean, who's unable to get Martin to give up on his lion hunt. As Martin tricks Chief Walu (Woodrow Strode), leader of the Masai tribe, to capture the lions for him, he also intends on killing Bomba for continuously getting in his way. Robert Davis as Lobu is also in the cast.
With Bomba befriending former teenage actresses of the 1940s now past their prime in earlier entries as Peggy Ann Garner, Allene Roberts and Sue England, Ann Todd (usually billed as Ann E. Todd) becomes a sort of love interest for the jungle boy for this entry. Her acting at times is sort of lame, but as usual, its the villain, played by Douglas Kennedy, who gathers the most attention. Though Bomba's communication with animals may seem far-fetched to contemporary viewers, its gets by in its comic book sort of way on how he could get information to and from them. Some good scenery and action scene (notably Bomba's fight with a vicious lion), but other than that, standard Bomba material.
Available on DVD, THE LION HUNTERS turns up occasionally on Turner Classic Movies where its been showing since August 2010. Next in the series: AFRICAN TREASURE (1952). (** lion cubs)
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