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|Index||11 reviews in total|
I can't figure out how anybody could make a comment saying they expected
more out of the lead actors in this B-feature when the two male leads,
George Reeves and Ralph Byrd, gave the exact same performances in this film
as they did when playing "Superman" and "Dick Tracy," or any other role they
played in their long careers. And the film was made for the express purpose
of supplying mid-week and double-feature bill-of-fare for the several
thousand small-town and side-street theatres in the U.S. that couldn't
afford the rates charged on "The Snake Pit" ( a non-jungle jungle film),
which is the one to watch if one is looking for "realism" from films
released about the same dates in 1948. Evidently, the ability to look at a
film within the context of when it was made and who it was made for---even a
low-budget, credibility-lacking, poverty-row potboiler such as "Jungle
Goddess"---doesn't exist among the majority of today's television viewers
whose sense and understanding of history regarding movies and/or eras in
history only dates back to the day-before-yesterday.
Of course, compared to most of the other 1948-produced films, it is a clinker and a clunker, but that is where the comparisons need to be made.
For plot researchers, this one has Greta Venderhorn (Wanda McKay), a young girl, as the only survivor of a plane crash in the "African" jungle at the beginning of World War II, and she is rescued by a tribe of "natives"---no more real than the people populating Camelot---who proclaim her as their "White Goddess." (Gracious, how un-PC.) Six years later, two ex-Army Air Corps pilots, Mike Patton (George "Superman" Reeves) and Bob Simpson (Ralph "Dick Tracy" Byrd), searching for the plane wreckage spot it, and land in an attempt to find the missing girl. It seems that Gloria's father's will stipulates that the person or persons that find his daughter, dead or alive, will receive a large reward.
Well, as fate and screenplay writer Joseph Pagnano would have it, they find the village and Gloria, and learn that she has had all she wants of playing Miss White Goddess of 1948, especially since her father's estate is not going to be depleted none too much by the payments of the reward, so she, Mike and Bob plan to escape and head back for civilization.
BUT...and a big but it is...one of the two men discovers that there is nearby a valuable deposit of ore, and he decides that he wants the ore and the reward and Gloria all to himself (no dummy, he), and conflict rears its ugly head, and the two male leads are soon scuffling on the plank floors of the rear-lot jungle set. Plus, the tribe witch doctor, Oolonga (Smoki Whitfield), isn't all that happy that these two intruders are making off with the White Goddess and the tribe's ore (even if the tribe didn't know they had some valuable ore and Wanama (Armida)is on hand to claim the title of Off-White Goddess with a Spanish accent) and Oolonga is pursuing their oom-gawa, bad-juju white butts with intent to punish. (Hey, lighten up, it's just a b-feature from the late 40's and a film of its time or, at least, the makers thought it was.)
Now, we wouldn't dare disclose whether "Superman" or "Dick Tracy" is the semi-bad and slightly misguided hero, who finally sees the light but catches a chukked spear and dies anyway, because that would be a bell-ringing, light-flashing, five-star SPOILER-SPOILER-SPOILER-SPOILER-SPOILER...for the few who aren't hip to 1940's cast-order listings.
In this low rent adventure, two aviators search for a missing heiress who
vanished in the African jungle at the onset of World War Two. Our intrepid
explorers discover she is alive and well and is being viewed by the local
natives as some kind of "white goddess".
Many of these old time, low rent, ludicrous jungle flicks are quite entertaining when viewed in the right frame of mind and if the films are lively. However, JUNGLE GODDESS is just bad. It has a few campy scenes, but overall it is very uneventful. About half the film consists of scenes of the lead characters sitting around inside a hut and talking. There is also an overlong and dull flashback sequence. I was disappointed that there was nothing that really stood out as vivid. This film lacks the elements of the type that sometimes make these silly little pictures entertaining; ludicrous native rituals, the heroine being carted off by a gorilla, hero battling with a stuffed lion etc.
A FEW NOTES: George Reeves made two cheap jungle pictures the same year. This and JUNGLE JIM, where he played the villain. The set used for the pub at the start of this film, looks like the one used in UNKNOWN ISLAND, made the same year.
Wow, you'd think that even B movies would at least TRY to get the facts
straight. There were quite a few things wrong with this one, but here
were the most annoying for me:
1. Our heroes looking at African animals from the air with binoculars, yet when we are shown the "binocular" view, it's taken from ground level.
2. Huge airplane cockpits. 1940's airplane cockpits were incredibly cramped arrangements that were crammed with instruments, yet the cockpits shown here are massive, with not a dial, switch or gauge to be seen. Convenient for filming perhaps, but completely unreal. Not to mention planes that change models in mid-flight.
3. Indigenous species. The padding in this film included stock footage of the animals supposedly seen on the ground in Africa. These included a cougar and an orangutan, neither of which are native to Africa.
4. While the "Dutch", English-speaking "Jungle Goddess" of the title was in Africa, she taught a local African woman broken English. Yet when the woman spoke the broken English, it was with a Mexican accent. Riddle me that one, Batman!
This one was pretty bad all the way through, with two thoroughly unlikeable and annoying male leads. And at just an hour long it still had 20 minutes of padding. If you've only got 40 minutes worth of script, you don't have enough of a story to even make a movie, so why try?
The dull, gray story of a Dutch girl(with no accent, mind you)who gets
lost in the jungles of Bachman's floral..err..Tanzania. She is found
and taken in by the most multi-ethnic 'native tribe' that I've ever
seen, including a woman who looks like she put on too much bronzer
before she went on set. These people seem to think that she's some kind
of 'White Goddess', which is weird since they call the two meaty,
wooden white guys who appear to rescue her white devils. These dopes
crash in the jungle while looking for this girl, because there's a
reward for finding her. One of them, a psychotic with a stupid pencil
moustache, pulls out a gun and starts shooting. He kills one of the
warriors, and is promptly condemned to death. Which he deserves, but
that wouldn't further the plot, would it?
Not that much does. There are long, dry conversations and some tepid flirting between the Goddess and the less looney of the two men, although he manages to patronize her like crazy. Actually, she had managed to hold off the tribe doing her in by keeping up the white goddess front for over six years, plus she learned their language and kept a witch doctor at bay. Sounds like a pretty strong, smart girl, which is why Chunky McWhitey's smug condescension is even more annoying.
They finally all run away together, although why they didn't leave the psycho Snidely Whiplash wannabee behind is beyond me. He eventually tries to kill both of them, and gets stabbed by a warrior after he kills yet another of the tribesmen by 'accident'. The two protagonists get in the plane and fly away, and the woman makes dreamy comments about how when she gets back to civilization she immediately wants to buy a hat. A hat!? Gimme a break, lady!
Thats about the only point of interest of this turkey. To be honest, I've only seen the MST3K version, but it is still easy to deduce that this is a total clunker, with horrendous use of stock footage, dialouge that can induce a grand mal seizure, cheap, CHEAP cardboard back drops, and terrible acting all make this movie, one to avoid. Although, I do recommend watching the MST3K version.
A couple of players known for portraying comic strip heroes George
Reeves as Superman and Ralph Byrd as Dick Tracy play a pair of post
World War II pilots who run a charter aviation company in Africa. Byrd
sees a big opportunity now that the war is over for a big financial
windfall if they can find a missing heiress alive or dead who was on a
flight missing since the first day of World War II.
Wanda McKay turns out to be alive and living with a tribe where she's revered as a white goddess who healed the chief's daughter. That and the fact that blondes are scarce in the jungle make her an object of worship. Reeves and Byrd find her and after that they come to a parting of the ways.
Nothing much to recommend this film other than McKay's legs which are on ample display. She was a poor man's Betty Grable. As for Reeves and Byrd they act like a pair of idiots in heat, especially Byrd.
You'd better be a leg man to appreciate this turkey.
This film was featured on the comedy riffing show Mystery Science
Theater 3000 and is one of the more dull films to be featured on the
show. The number one is the time they did Hamlet. This one was done by
Lippert who had many of his films featured on the show and are mainly
known for being extremely short yet somehow full of nothing. Usually
lots and lots of padding which is strange that he would feel the need
to put so much filler in when his films were always generally so short.
This one has a couple of stars of note, the one that is most
recognizable to me is George Reeves best known as playing Clark
Kent/Superman. Other than seeing him, there really isn't a lot else to
comment on. The plot is a bore and most of the movie is spent inside
native's huts as the characters talk about how to escape. Just not a
lot to recommend here.
The story has a couple of guys who fly a plane going to search of an heiress despite the objections of one of the pilots (Reeve's character). The other pilot is a bit of a jerk and he becomes more unstable as the film moves on though. They fly and look through binoculars to find the missing plane and of course are capable of seeing animals from an on the ground perspective. They find the wreckage and then trek through the jungle where they encounter the natives and the jerk immediately gets on their bad side. Soon they will learn the fate of the heiress and have to plan an escape before it's too late!
This film did not make a particularly strong episode of MST3K. A few good Superman references and jokes here and there, but there simply was not enough substance to it. There was literally nothing going on through most of the very short running time of this one. Most of the film is the hero and heroine talking and then the hero and jerk punching each other. Add some stoke footage and some angry natives and that is that. The big escape took a whopping few minutes to complete.
So overall a very dull film that plays out like most Lippert films do. Though, honestly, King Dinosaur and a couple of the other ones are a bit more exciting than this one. This film with its plot would have thrived during the 70's and 80's, however. Look at Zombie Holocaust where a blonde is inexplicably sort of worshiped at the end and she gets nude. Just add cannibals or make it a soft core and this one would have had something to it. As is, a bore where people talk in between stock footage shots.
Show 203 of the popular Mystery Science Theater 3000. It's typical of many 40's Hollywood movies in which the white characters play God to the native Africans. Of course, the Africans with lines are played by white actors in dark makeup (sometimes in blackface.) It gets its proper roasting in MST3K.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Beyond being a bad, terribly dull movie, I have a bigger problem with
Jungle Goddess racism. I'm not sure why it bothers me so much in this
movie when I can let it go in movies with similar racial incidents like
any of the Tarzan movies, but it really bothered me here. The
characters (an by this I mean the white characters) attitudes toward
the shooting of an innocent native is so nonchalant. It's no big deal
to any of them. You kill a human being and then have the nerve to feel
you're being wronged by the other members of his tribe because they
want and expect retribution it's something my 21st Century
sensibilities cannot comprehend. And it's not just the "bad" guy. The
"good" characters have the same "no big deal" attitude. I honestly
think it bothered me so much in Jungle Goddess because the movie is so
bad there's nothing to take the edge of these scenes. The racial
attitudes of the 1940s were given the opportunity to stand front and
center and show just how repulsive they really were.
Okay, off the soapbox for a bit. As I say, Jungle Goddess is Dull with a capital "D". None of the three main actors (George Reeves, Wanda McKay, and Ralph Byrd) seems capable of displaying any of the realistic emotions you might expect from someone lost in the jungle. In fact, McKay plays it much like a little girl going to a tea party. It's completely unbelievable. Speaking of unbelievable, the sets are some of the worst I've seen. You can find more realistic looking plastic plants at the local Wal Mart. And the stock footage scenes of animals don't help at all. It's all too obvious that the characters are no where near the animals. Add it up cheap sets, dull script, and uninspired acting make for one very bad movie.
What century was this film made in? The racial attitudes in this
are unbelievable. Yeah sure. Any self-respecting black tribe in Africa
bow down at the first white person who walks along. Ridiculous.
There's very little plot here: Pilots look for girl, find her, try to escape. The end. For the life of me, I don't know why this film was made. There's absolutely no point, and it would fail as an action/adeventure film because there's so little action (and some pathetic insertions of stock footage).
I would expect better from the two lead actors.
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