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American Jim Warburton crashes his plane in the Amazon jungle and promptly falls in love with Christine Ridgegway , a mysterious huntress who rescues him and his passengers. Christine determinedly evades Jim's courtship and advances, making Dr. Karen Lawrence suspect she has a tragic reason for fleeing to Rio to escape Jim. Karen and Jim follow her to Rio de Janeiro and, while dining in a restaurant, see a man named Sebastian Ortega greet Christine. She screams, faints and falls into a long illness. Later, Ortega tells Jim that he knew Mrs. Ridgeway, whom he assumes was Christine's mother, when she was honeymooning in the jungle---a couple of decades ago---with her adventurer-husband, Anthony Ridgeway. Although terrified of animals, Mrs. Ridgeway had saved her husband's life when a panther attacked him in the same jungle where Christine was hunting when Jim's airplane crashed. She plunged into hysteria, following the incident, and returned to the United States. Jim thinks this a good ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This odd, hard-to-see romantic fantasy (I finally tracked it down in a poor TV dupe from a trader) is a curio at best, without the atmosphere, charm or casting to pull off the very silly concept it plays with a very straight face. Vera Ralston plays the mysterious jungle-dwelling woman who bewitches Brian Aherne when his plane accidentally crash-lands in the area. Flashbacks eventually reveal the cause of her skittishness as a sort of supernatural curse that has already caused tragedy.
Everyone seems to be punching the clock here, including the director. The big problem, of course, is Ralston: As usual, she's asked to play a character whose charms fascinate everyone, and as usual those charms seem very elusive to the viewer. The Republic Studio executive who married and tirelessly promoted her as a star despite the public's complete lack of enthusiasm must truly loved her to be so blind. She's not the worst actress ever to grace the screen, but she is wooden and not as attractive as the film insists she is. Constance Bennett has a humiliating role that is perhaps a typical 1948 notion of a "sympathetic" part for an actress of a certain age who's no longer a star: She's a professional woman whom Aherne treats as a best friend, though of course she's hopelessly in love with him. He's completely oblivious to that, natch, because he's so besotted with the younger, beautiful Ralstonsomething that seems particularly humiliating here because frankly the latter isn't all that beautiful. (She's more the kind of woman one might call "handsome," in that she has good features but little humor or vivacity to light them up.)
The bones of the story might have been ideal for more florid, "exotic" treatment, like a Maria Montez vehicle. But the execution is surprisingly talky and flat, too pedestrian even to have much camp value. Too bad, because its mix of romantic sentimentality and kitsch fantasy should have made for something more memorable than this fairly dull "B" (though by Republic standards it was probably close to an "A").
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