It's 1901. At 19, tough, stubborn Christopher Leiningen came to South America and built levees to claim thousands of acres of Rio Negro river land for a chocolate plantation. Now 34, with no knowledge of women, he recruits a mail-order bride in New Orleans. She's beautiful, independent, and arrives ready to be his stalwart helpmate; however, no one has told him she's a widow. He rejects her. During the next week, as she awaits the boat to take her back to the US, they learn that legions of army ants will strike in a few days' time. She joins the fight to save the plantation; their courage and his probable loss of all he's worked for may crack his resolve to send her away. Written by
While preparing to shoot the sequence where Leiningen pours oil on himself to repel the ants, Charlton Heston was told that oil would ruin his wardrobe so syrup would be used instead. Heston spent a miserable day on location as the "oil" attracted every insect for miles. See more »
During the first meeting/"confrontation" between Joanna and Christopher there comes a point in the conversation when he asks her if she is 'laughing at him.' As she turns from the dresser to face him at the very upper left corner for approx. 35 frames the moving shadow of what may well be a boom mic can easily be seen as it follows the motion. See more »
THE NAKED JUNGLE is based on Carl Stephenson's story "Leiningen Vs The Ants." There was at least one excellent radio adaptation in which William Conrad (who has a supporting role in this film) played Leiningen. The first half of this screen adaptation is pretty ordinary, centering around the romantic problems of Heston and his mail order bride Ms. Parker. When the ants arrive, this film really takes off. One scene where the ants devour a drunk down to his bones must of looked pretty shocking in 1954.
This film was reviewed in a 1954 issue of The American Museum of Natural History magazine, where the reviewer, an entomologist, stated that while single ant colonies do migrate, and can wreck havoc, migrations of multiple colonies, as in this film, do not occur in real life. Phew! Thats good to know!
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