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I just watched this film on my computer at work (on my lunch break). What I find amazing is how a whole movie could be constructed around some African safari stock footage and still be entertaining in a junky way. The 1940's stock character actors do their best to put the plot across and for me it works as a grade B campfest. The men are either handsome and stalwart or older and rather dithering and the women look great in that 1940's glamor sort of way. I love that all the jungle amazons look like they stepped out of a Hollywood beauty parlor in full make up. The action scenes are hilariously hokey and you'll have fun pointing out the mistakes in continuity. As the way to pass an hour I prefer this kind of fun trash to some TV reality show or CSI Wherever.
It called Queen of the Amazons, its in black & white, and its shot in
1947. You should know exactly what you are about to watch.
And if you watch to the end, you get to see a wonderfully bad stunt double replacement. In fact, one suspects on the day of shooting, they realized the mistake of booking two stunt doubles for the hero, and none for the baddie, but we still went ahead anyway with the shoot.
OK - there is lots of stock footage, and plenty of time devoted to filming tricks performed by the monkey and bird, and any logic test would fail the plot; yet, its not a 'bad' film.
I strangely enjoyed Queen of the Amazons, its much like the comfy Saturday afternoon black and white films I use to watch on TV 25yrs ago - it has a secret appeal to the 12 year old inside. It has a good pace, which stops you dwelling too long on the improbable of how they managed to justify the next piece of stock footage, or that the lion attacks involve the person holding onto the lion so he doesn't get away.
But, I think my main reason for enjoying this was Patrica Morison; the feeling you are watching someone who is better than the material she has been given, but still gives the best within crippling limitations.
I saw this on the TreeLine 50 SciFi DVD boxset - - so, invite a few like minded friends over for drinks and nibbles, sit back, and enjoy some old fashion brain fodder.
One of Edward Finney's most well-known films, Queen of the Amazons is
the story of a young woman (Patricia Morison), her guide,
father-in-law, an absent minded professor, a cook and a man scorned who
all go on safari to hunt down her missing fiancé. The film includes a
number of subplots ranging from the romance to murder mystery, and
somehow, it is all linked up to illegal ivory smuggling. The safari,
inexplicably, launches from colonial India, and the search takes up
more than half the story.
Most of the story is driven by transitional scenes between stock footage of African wildlife, jungle scenery and well-acted action scenes including animal attacks. The script, which takes on the responsibility for drawing everything together and driving it along, is not really up to the task. Dialog is used to establish virtually everything the stock footage can not. Besides the bland camera-work, the often laughable stock footage, and the over-taxed script, the directing and editing are good. There are a few continuity errors, but not as many as some reviewers have claimed. After all, this is Queen of the Amazons (who were written about by ancient Greeks 1500 years before Europeans arrived in South America) not "Queen of the Amazon" (a river named after the Greek stories). One, however, is worth watching out for. Pat Morison is examining some stock footage of African Savannah animals running away through binoculars. Just as she says "why are they running away so fast?" we see a herd of gazelles in the binoculars - running in very slow motion.
The cast performs very well given the limitations of the script and story. The only acting disasters belong to the nevertheless likable Amira Moustafa (who had a remarkably short career). Many of the other actors were veteran character actors, or on their ways to becoming so.
What the film fails to do, despite a fairly strong effort, is to generate any sense of drama or urgency. Nevertheless, it is not a complete mess, and the stock footage is actually quite nice!
Jean Preston travels with her intended father-in-law, friend Wayne Monroe, and a milquetoast professor to the Middle East to find her fiancé who disappeared when his safari was attacked. Jean's movements are shadowed which leads to the death of a native who knows where and what purpose the safari was to meet. She learns he was last seen at a point in Africa and plans to trek into the jungle with guide Gary Lambert (who resents traveling with a woman in the jungle) and a cook Gabby. Lambert also takes the journey since the safari was searching for ivory poachers and after being attacked, Wayne is mysteriously killed, and the safari is led off course on occasions,and Jean later begins to suspect someone into the troupe is sabotaging the traveler's efforts. Eventually the safari makes its way to the village where Greg (Jean's fiancé) is, which is an all white woman group, the only survivors of a shipwreck, and Greg and Zita, chief of the Amazonian tribe, have fallen in love. Will Jean be able to cope, as well as survive, with the safari attacks by a hostile group of natives led by the mysterious leader? The movie started off well with nice mysterious angles to the story, but after the 12 minute mark, it turned into every minute of new footage is three of stock footage, which rarely matched what was being filmed and served no purpose but to pad the film (and unintentionally bore the audience). The script was predictable, the mystery villain was sure simple to figure, acting wooden, and has an ending to make anyone groan. Rating, based on B movies, 2.
A woman tries to locate her fiance who is missing somewhere in the
This is a movie to make strong men go slack jawed and wide eyed. At least half its running time is stock footage only some of which matches the studio shot footage (or even other bits of stock footage). The narration is so out of touch with reality as to make one wonder was the author in on the script meetings. Its truly an amazing film.
To give you an idea, the film begins with the search starting in India, for no logical reason. It then switches to Africa and goes on from there, where bits of plot from India come into play, like the native uprising in India affecting the natives in the African Jungle, or the shadowy presence trying to stop the search.
At least it moves. There's good action, and the actors are game if nothing else.
Is it worth watching?
Yes. The film at least is trying to do something for its running time. Inept film making aside the only flaw is a long passage toward the end where its just people talking. It doesn't last long and before long there's a great big fight.
On the purely enjoyable scale I give it seven out of ten.Perfect for a rainy day when you want to laugh at something.
Heck! It was different time altogether. What made for excitement in
1947 is merely amusing, boring, or fascinating depending on your
attitude towards films and movies.
I watched it. I enjoyed it despite the amazing plot holes. The first thing you will note that the movie takes place mostly in Africa even though the Amazon is in South America. Oh, but this is about a strange white women's tribe living the jungle so they must be Amazons. Oh, and the white women's tribe is mysterious in its nature even though the origin is very well known and no-one ever decided to go rescue the survivors of the shipwreck. I can't figure it out so it is best not to try.
Stock footage runs amok. It doesn't always match or even come close in the continuity of details department or even in film granularity. One hilarious example occurs when the lead actress looks through a telescope at the wildlife and notes how they are all in a hurry. Then we are treated to stock footage of a herd of gazelles jumping away - in slow-mo. Ha ha! We must have been shown footage of 5 or 6 different tribes of people which were lumped together in this film to represent one tribe. We even were privy to stock footage of trees which are not native to Africa - but there they are growing on the landscape. It's pretty awkward but no-one probably noticed in 1947. That wasn't the point back, I suppose. This movie is here to entertain or fill time. It does both.
The acting is surprisingly competent enough by most although there seemed to be an abundance of inappropriate smiling, especially by the lead actress who gets a good share of close-ups. Yeah, she's pretty. But for a woman who has lost her fiancé to the jungle she just doesn't seem very upset. She is simply determined to go on with the safari even though her feelings for her fiancé are seriously challenged by another man in her party.
Meanwhile, her fiancé has fallen for the 'Amazon' queen but has decided to be a rat and not tell anyone. Apparently he thought no-one would care if he simply vanished along with the rest of his earlier safari party.
Meanwhile the Amazonians get the blame for all the mysterious deaths in the region. They are determined to remain secret and keep their territory safe from outsiders - except for the one lone male which the Queen keeps for herself. Considering how awesome this tribe of white women must be since they can overwhelm a safari without much problem - you never see more than 3 of the white women tribe. In fact, they put up no defense whatsoever during the eventual incursions into their camp by the antagonists - except for a well-timed blowgun incident.
Meanwhile the Queen says she will kill to keep her man but we can still be friends. Huh?? Others have noted and I will reinforce - this is not a movie to get all serious about. These are the movies I saw when I was young and it is really quite lame - but still it has a charm. It tries to be fun and succeeds a few times.
The ending moans and groans. But at least it's happy and doesn't set you up for a sequel.
Rainy day fodder when you are not so critical. Bring a pillow.
I've noticed several reviewers' exasperation at the "amazon" in the
title as if it were a great mistake that the movie is not set in the
It should be pointed out that "amazon" is a term from ancient myth which does not originate from the Amazon River in South America. It refers to a legendary tribe of women called "amazons". The river in South America is actually named after that legend, apparently some explore thought he saw some women there who fit that description.
But if you like Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies, this is not a bad substitute. I especially like the trained crow. After some recent research findings into the intelligence of crows, it's tricks are quite plausible. Maybe more plausible than some of the human performances.
I got this in a science fiction collection. I kept waiting for some technological or science oriented event to take place. This is a bad jungle movie. That's it. It's about a group of people who go to Africa to find some guy who disappeared during a safari into the bush. His fiancée is with the group. She gets to go along because of the way she handles a gun. We are led to believe that the women in this movie are formidable and capable. One can out shoot the male lead. However, when faced with danger, they shrink back and scream. The Amazon Queen is the same way. She has built a society in the jungle, showing no mercy at times, but when it comes time to confront the villain, all she can do is plaster herself against a wall and howl. The men are just as bad. Most of the film is stock footage from African newsreels. It allows you to get a sandwich between plot elements. At times it appears that the safari has about 400 native supply carriers. At other times they have about five. People get eaten by lions and killed with spears. A romance develops between the great white hunter and the other guy's fiancée. The evil Amazon Queen doesn't do much of anything except make idle threats. And when push comes to shove, she doesn't seem to have any power at all. What a worthless movie!
Queen of the Amazons is an ambitious low-budget hoot.
Because the production staff tried to make the most of its resources, it's actually for the most part a reasonably paced film with plenty of fun things to see behind the director's curtain. You get silly dialogue, narration written after the movie was shot, a boom mike dropping into view, an artsy silhouetted villain, the sharpshooting female lead who is suddenly helpless with a gun when her beloved is being attacked, and acres of stock footage.
It appears that large portions of the film were written around the most interesting stock footage they could find, both in India and Africa. The Indian stuff is unnecessary to the plot, other than they had the neat footage, or so it seems. But watching them try to write around all of the unrelated (but somewhat intriguing) material is great fun.
The climactic fight scene has one of the most delightfully difficult-to-follow brawls I've ever seen, because the villain looks nothing like his stunt double and looks an awful lot like the other stunt double! Time and again they cut in to a closeup with the regular actors and I was surprised, thinking that the villain was the other guy in the long shots!
There are a couple of unique characterizations as well mixed in among the cliché's, including the Queen herself, a low-key 40s starlet with an accent, and a pre-beat period poetry-spouting cook.
The trained animals are quite good and have a bit of fun footage, including a playful tiger who does a couple of great romps on some stunt doubles.
I saw this movie as part of the 50 Sci Fi(!) Classics DVD collection from Treeline, which is a low-budget and IMDb low-rated movie fan's dream.
I saw this film on the science fiction classics DVD set, but knew that
there would likely not be much science fictional in it -- after noting
that it also contains "prehysterical" women or the Sons of Hercules
films. There was a "bugologist" and some lessons in anthropology, which
were quite fictional, even some unexpected dancing and poetry. It was
fun, if like me you happen to like these kind of movies with corny,
old-fashion, happy endings -- especially after a hard day's work
thinking. The monkey and the raven did seem to be the most interesting
actors, especially the monkey.
There is even a serious side. It certainly reminds one of how things have changed since then in that then it was against the law to sell ivory without giving the colonial power its cut, while now it's supposedly illegal to do so to anyone at all.
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