Lionel Atwill was dying from bronchial cancer when he began filming his scenes in January 1946.His fatal illness prevented him from working beyond February 4,so George Sorel filled in for him in all remaining scenes, usually with his back to the camera. See more »
I will no doubt get slammed for writing this because there is still a dedicated group of fans who just love these old movie serials. I'm aghast that these things back in the day passed for entertainment. Lost City In The Jungle is a perfect example.
This serial was made at a moment in time when at the end of World War II and before the Cold War really went into deep freeze it was thought that the United Nations could develop into a world government with a chance for world peace. The good guys in this film are the United Peace Foundation and while they have no troops they do have agent/operatives like Russell Hayden dedicated to tracking down those who would bring about war for their own profit.
One of those is Lionel Atwill who faked his own death and is now in the remote country of Pendrang somewhere in the Himalayas. Under an alias he's financing archaeologist John Eldredge's expedition to uncover a lost city. What Atwill looking for is something called Meteorium, a radioactive substance from which he can construct a defense against the atomic bomb. He gets and develops his counter weapon any country he does business with will rule the world. I've got to say the man dreams big.
But not if Hayden and the United Peace Foundation have anything to say about it. The Foundation has a man on the ground in Keye Luke in Pendrang's capital of Zalabar. The capital has an unofficial ruler in Helen Bennett who runs a the gambling action and even controls the local law enforcement. Imagine if the folks in Shangri-La had brought in casino gambling and this is what you have. What I couldn't figure out is that if Pendrang is as remote as the serial makes it out to be, just where does the fresh money come in which is necessary for casinos to survive?
That was one of many things that had me puzzled throughout all 13 chapters of Lost City Of The Jungle. Of course the good guys win they always do.
I felt sorry for Lionel Atwill though. Dying of cancer and having problems getting roles after the sex party scandal in his home came to light, it's a shame that this was what he had to go out on. Not as bad as his colleague Errol Flynn whom he supported in Captain Blood with Cuban Rebel Girl, but not worthy of his talents.
Serials themselves are thank God, a lost art form, Lost City Of The Jungle is no better or worse than others that I've seen.
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