|Index||8 reviews in total|
What girl no matter her age can resist anything that has both Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabb in it? Just seeing Johnny Weissmuller in anything is reward enough. He was absolutely captivating in all of the Tarzan movies. He was also fun in the Jungle Jim television shows too. It is time well spent even if the movies and plots may seem weak. Better than what is out there now. At least the men are attractive and worth looking at. What is interesting is that both Johnny and Buster were competitive in the Olympics. And then they were competitive in the movies. Another neat movie with both of them in it is Swamp Fire. More competition but all for the love of a lady. These are just fun escapism movies back when men were men and women were lucky!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you watch enough of the Jungle Jim movies, you'll realize that the
stories all follow a pretty standard formula, just as Charles
Starrett's Durango Kid films did in the Western genre. Which is OK on
the one hand because they're entertaining in their way, but it also
makes them highly forgettable once a couple of days have passed by.
What's kind of interesting in this one is that Johnny Weismuller as the
jungle hero is pitted against Buster Crabbe as the villain of the
piece. Since both were genuine Olympic swimming champions, the stage
might have been set for some sort of athletic rivalry, however since it
was Weismuller's franchise, he's the only one we see doing the high
dives and underwater heroics, this time against a crocodile.
Central to the story is the rumored Wild Girl of Lake Pakongee, raised in the jungle and accompanied by a tiger. Her parents were murdered years earlier by the evil witch doctor Hakim, and it's Hakim's goal to kill her as well, before she can exact revenge. Interestingly, the actress portraying the Wild Girl, Anita Lhoest, appeared on screen only one time, and this was it. She too was an exceptional swimmer from California.
As in all the Jungle Jim films, wild animals take center stage from time to time, but with budgets as they were back in the day, it's not too hard to pick out that monkey treetop scramble that appeared as stock footage in the prior two films ("The Lost Tribe" and "Mark Of The Gorilla"). What makes this picture fun at the finale is the wild monkey rampage that overtakes the witch doctor and his tribal goons. For those keeping track, the non African animal appearing in the story this time, besides Wild Girl Joan's tiger, is a South American cockatoo.
Say, if you stay attentive, there are a couple of interesting items to stay alert for. Right after Chief Mahala (Rick Vallin) banishes Hakim from the tribal village, there's a shot of Wild Girl up on a rock ledge, just as in the start of the picture. If you look closely, you'll note that the waterfall to her left is in reverse, it's rising instead of falling! Later on in the story, listen closely and you'll hear a faint Tarzan yell during the panther/tiger scuffle. That was Weismuller's classic signature that he invented for his earlier Tarzan role.
For me, I guess that's where the fun is in these Jungle Jim pictures, trying to pick up on the little idiosyncrasies thrown in by the director to make things interesting. Moving forward, we'll have to see if Tamba the Chimp becomes a regular as one of Jungle Jim's animal companions. He made fast friends with Jim's dog Skipper by trading a bone for a banana in the early filler part of the movie. Good thing too, or Jim and company would have never made it across the ravine!
This is a funny movie that is completely unbelievable. Had I seen this movie in the early fifties, I would have believed it is realistic. It is light entertainment at the most, but the Jungle Girl Anita is one fine "Honey", I think I love her. To my consternation this beauty made only ONE movie. History is abundant with horse faces making multiple flicks, why not a beauty like Anita? Oh well, That's life, but this movie is not about life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was a kid when this movie came out. In fact, it was shown as the
feature during one Saturday matinée. The way the local Bijou ran
Saturday matinées was that they always started at 12:30 PM. There would
be a few cartoons, a comedy short (Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy,
Little Rascals, etc), another few cartoons, a serial chapter (Flash
Gordon, Buck Rodgers, etc), then topped off with the feature film.
One interesting thing about our Saturday matinées was that in all of the movies, no matter if they were adventures (like "Captive Girl"), a western or sci-fi movie, the good guys always won. But, the way that the Bijou ran the show, there was no "theme." But, if you were a kid like I was, you didn't care. As long as the good guy winning, we were happy. And we were home in time for dinner.
"Captive Girl" uses cheesy sets, phoned in dialog, stock footage and good looking actors. This movie brings back fond memories of my youth.
I enjoy a good pulp adventure story with an exotic setting, but it's
been a long time since I've seen one as silly as this.
The sets are ultra-silly to begin with: other than yonder copse of trees, the background is largely devoid of vegetation, which is awfully strange for the jungle deep in darkest Africa. It doesn't take very long until we see our first tiger battle (tigers being an Asian cat, mark ye well)--and the tiger takes on a domestic Philippine water buffalo, no less. To be honest, we're positively overflowing with tigers, which is silly, insofar as any ecosystem is awfully thin on apex predators and quite heavy on prey animals.
From the outset, Buster Crabbe's acting is beneath terrible. Frankly, it sounds as if he's reading from a canned script--and applying just about as much interest: I expect him to next say, "Yes, Jim, let's head over to the . . . hold up while I flip the page here . . . the, um, Lagoon of the Dead." Realism is scarcely contributed by the lily-white staff of his hunter's cabin (the term for "hunter" is "shikari," but I can't remember the spiffy Swahili term for his cabin) or by the Polynesian or Hawaiian-looking dude who bangs drums Hawaiian style: I expected him to presently dig into some coconuts and pineapples! Pretty soon, we're off to the native village, where the Viking-helmeted witch doctor (Vikings didn't actually have horned helmets: let that be our little secret) is leading some inscrutable ritual involving sticks. Oh, and the witch doctor's name is Hakeem--which, when I last checked, is, like, extremely Arabic. Of course, Jungle Jim (I guess he's searching for his buddy, Mountain Jim) is climbing boulders and steep cliff sides and such with the help of a sturdy lapdog that appears to be a Maltese or a Wheaten terrier or something (it's always handy to bring a hardy work dog with you on an African mission). The dog does provide comic relief, admittedly, when Jim's pet chimpanzee is upset by something and wants to hide his eyes behind something warm and fluffy. Whoa, suddenly we have an alligator battle! Unfortunately, the alligator (or was it a crocodile?) is the most obvious rubber model I've ever seen: it doesn't even fight back, and--when Jungle Jim sticks his hunting knife into it--it doesn't even condescend to bleed. (This must be thanks to Jim's other buddy, Veterinarian Jim.) By this point, I lost interest entirely. I apologize if this review seems somewhat jumpy, but it's honestly reflective of the jumpy nature of the story.
Whoops . . . I spoke too soon: we have now suddenly discovered a "sacrificial temple," replete with beautiful native girls who--despite an evidently high order of civilization--think that it's appropriate to march through the underbrush in bare feet, snakes and thorns notwithstanding.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS***Campy but entertaining Jungle Jim, Johnny Weissmuller,
flick that really has two things in it that keeps it from sinking into
the "Lagoon of the Dead": The watery grave in the movie that the local
natives preform human sacrifices for their Gods. First there's the
strikingly beautiful jungle girl Joan Martindale played by California
swimming champ Anita Lhoest and last but not least the films final
sequence. That's when hundreds of wild and shrieking monkeys, lead by
Jungle Jim's pet chimpanzee Tumba, come to Jungle Jim as well as Joan
and the deposed, by Witch Doctor Mahala played by Rick Vallin, former
village chief the collage educated Harkim's, John Dehnrer, rescue. To
make things a bit more interesting there's also former Olympic swimming
champ,like Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe playing the greedy and
fortune hunting Barton. A role that the clean cut all American boy, or
now man, Crabbe of Flash Gordon fame rarely if ever was cast in.
Nothing really new here with the stock footage, mostly shot by big game hunter and trapper Frank "Bring em back alive" Buck, about the most exciting scenes in the film. It was jungle girl Joan who had it in for the Witch Doctor Mahala in him having her parents's, who were American archaeologists, done in an leaving her an orphan. Surviving in the jungle with the help and support of her animal friends especially her pet tiger, a tiger in darkest Africa?, Joan is the only person who witnessed Mahala murder her parents! And it's her testimony before a colonial court that can end up leaving Mahala hanging at the end of a rope!
***SPOILERS*** Jungle Jim together with Joan the Jungle Girl have a number of close calls in the movie but in the end their captured,together with former chief Hakim, by Mahala & Co. where their to be dumped as human sacrifices into the "Lagoon of the Dead" laden with gold jewelry to make sure that they reach the bottom and never float to the surface! It's then that all hell breaks loose with Tumba the Chimp and his band of monkeys putting an ends to Mahala's dreams of staying village chief and avoiding justice in the murder of Joan's parents! Tumba and his monkeys also saved the local colonial authorities the trouble and money of a trail for Mahala by doing him,and his followers,in themselves!
Captive Girl (1950)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Johnny Weissmuller is back as Jungle Jim and this time he's trying to locate an evil white woman roaming the jungles. She actually turns out to be a good guy but the real bad people are a tribal witch doctor (John Dehner) and a fortune hunter (Buster Crabbe) seeking gold. CAPTIVE GIRL is mildly interesting because it features former Olympic gold medal winners and former screen Tarzan's Weissmuller and Crabbe going up against one another. You'd think that the producers would have taken advantage of this and done something fun with it but they don't. In the end this fourth installment turns out to be another very weak one and it's clear that there really isn't much hope for this series. The ultra low-budget is obvious because the majority of the screen time is either stock footage or quick cutaway shots to Jim's dog and a monkey that is constantly following him around. This here is probably the only reason to watch the film because throughout I noticed that the monkey would start being mean to the dog and then we'd get a fast edit to something else. They say working with animals is something directors hate and I'm going to guess that they had a lot of trouble here as the two co-stars obviously didn't get along well. Weissmuller fits the role nicely, as usual, but also as usual his line delivery is pretty much not there. Crabbe does what he can with his role as the bad guy and I'm sure character actor Dehner didn't like appearing in this type a role at this point in his career. Anita Lhoest plays the white girl and while she's cute that's about all she's able to do.
Swimming champions Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe duel it out in
Captive Girl part of Weissmuller's Jungle Jim series. Crabbe was in
better shape however because we get to see him stripped down where
Weissmuller even in his swimming scenes is clothed.
Crabbe is only one of two villains. The other being John Dehner ludicrously made up in blackface to play the tribal witch doctor. This may have been the nadir of that career, but Dehner soldiered on as he kept a straight face throughout the film.
Weissmuller as the legendary Jungle Jim has been hired to go to India presumably to find and locate an evil jungle witch, a white girl roaming the jungle there with a tiger as a companion who has been running a small terrorist campaign against Dehner and his minions who've been ruling his tribe in the absence of Chief Rick Vallin who has gone off to white man's missionary school. Now Weissmuller and Vallin are traveling together, Weissmuller to find the mysterious white girl with the tiger and Vallin to reclaim his legacy.
Crabbe is a treasure hunter who is after the loot that the white girl's parents found presumably as archaeologists back in the day before they disappeared.
The white girl is Anita Lhoest, swimming champion of the Forties who looked real good in some tiger skin bodywear. They gave her minimal and I mean minimal dialog, less than Weissmuller and Crabbe had back when they were playing Tarzan. This was Anita's one and only film and why no one thought of her for Sheena, Queen Of The Jungle who knows?
I saw these films as a lad and looking at it now I see how ludicrously bad some of these Jungle Jim films were. Positive camp.
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