Footage of the City of the Dead appears to show Angkor Wat in Cambodia. See more »
Oh, Dad, this is getting monotonous! Every year we do the same thing. We go to Saratoga, we go to Newport, then we come to Glencove for the yacht races.
Well, I always win.
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Buster Crabbe and Charles Middleton together again.
If we took movies like this seriously we would believe that the jungles of Africa are just loaded with lost cities. From the 1920 serial JUNGLE QUEEN right through TV shows like "Jungle Jim" and "Ramar of the Jungle" there was always some lost civilisation just over the next mountain. Such is the case in this movie also; hey if a plot point works why change it?
This time out we have Bruce (Weldon Heyburn) and his pal Andy (Robert Carson) a couple of rich, bored yachtsmen who decide to abandon sailing regattas and head for Africa to search for The City of the Dead. Coming along are Bruce's fiancée Bety (Sheila Darcy) and her dad William (Paul Scott). William is hoping for a reunion with his brother (Charles Middleton) who became a missionary and has been in the jungle for many years. Now in real life any safari that has perennial comic relief actor Vince Barnett as guide normally would not have much of a chance but hey fascinating indeed are the things you can get away with in a movie.
Also in the jungle is Dr. Robert Hammond (Buster Crabbe) who is known as "Junga" to the natives. They may have been enemies in the "Flash Gordon" serials at Universal but in this PRC picture Buster and Charles are the best of friends. Buster has been searching for the cure to a fatal disease the natives call "malaka" and has sent a sample of the serum he has developed to the States for testing. Sadly the ship carrying the serum is lost, " . . .sunk by a torpedo" as Middleton informs him (a vague reference to WW2 which the US was not yet involved in when this movie was made). I'll get back to this point later.
Bruce and Andy head off looking for the lost city. Whoever lost it must not have looked for it very hard because they find it with relative ease; and does anyone besides me think that Lost City looks an awful lot like Angkor Wat? Along the way there are many problems like attacking lions, giant snakes, headhunters, and of course a sudden outbreak of malaka. Can Buster do anything to save the natives and the explorers? If only the serum were not lost when the ship went down! Ah but wait, that wreck may not be lost after all! But can Buster get to it in the shark infested waters? That would be telling! You'll see for yourself.
The low budget shows. This movie uses tons of stock footage that looks to be about 10 years old or even more. Watch as the actors in this movie look offscreen and react to scenes of wildlife that look like they come from an early documentary. Performances are good despite the limitations. Vince Barnett is amusing while never getting annoying. Buster and Charles react well with each other. Sheila Darcy is quite good and for one scene she even gets to "go native" wearing a skimpy (well, by 1941 standards) sarong while she flirts with Buster.
I had fun watching JUNGLE MAN and if you give it a chance and overlook its shortcomings I think you will too.
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