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Masters of the Congo Jungle (1958)

Les seigneurs de la forêt (original title)
Approved | | Documentary | 21 November 1958 (Belgium)
Documentary showing the struggles of the inhabitants--both human and animal--of what was then called the Belgian Congo.


(narrative), (narrative) | 1 more credit »

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Credited cast:
Récitant / Narrator (French version) (voice)
Georges Aminel ...
Récitant / Narrator (French version) (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bert Brauns ...
Narrator Dutch language
Jørn Jeppesen ...
(Danish narrator)
Herman Niels ...
Narrator Dutch version
Henning Pade ...
(Danish narrator)
William Warfield ...
Narrator, English Language Version (voice)
Narrator, English Language Version (voice)


Documentary showing the struggles of the inhabitants--both human and animal--of what was then called the Belgian Congo.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

21 November 1958 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Masters of the Congo Jungle  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Watchable, but in the end, not Mondo-ish enough for me
3 July 2007 | by (North Hollyweird) – See all my reviews

In spite of its rather lurid exploitation aspects (or probably because of them), the "Mondo" documentary is one of my favorite subgenres, mixing sex, violence and comedy together in a stew of documentary footage, some real and some concocted (though the filmmakers would die sooner than admit any of their footage was less than real, and captured live by the camera's unblinking eye).

This film splits the difference between a Mondo movie and a straight-ahead nature documentary. That is to say, its exploitation and use of ballyhoo are toned down considerably when compared to something like Mondo Cane, which this film preceded by three years.

Belgian filmmakers enter the jungles and plains of the Belgian Congo (then known as) to record some footage of the last tribes untouched by the modern world living out their days and nights, as well as wild animals in their native habitats. The tone is respectful most of the time, with minimal emphasis on the nudity, blood and gore (though some of it is here) seen in some of the most outrageous Mondo movies (Mondo Cane, Ecco, Africa Addio, Women of the World, Taboos of the World, Kwaheri, The Forbidden).

Could it be that this difference in tone results due to the fact that these filmmakers were Belgian, and most of the "Mondo" filmmakers were Italian? I will not make such a judgment.

Narration by Orson Welles (tag-teaming with another American narrator, William Warfield) adds another level of class and distinction to the presentation. There are a few scenes of jungle violence that are difficult to watch, but overall Welles does an excellent job amping up the drama and making this movie somewhat worthwhile for fans of nature documentary, of Orson Welles' always excellent voice over work, or even of Mondo films, even if this film doesn't quite reach the dizzying heights of insanity found in many Mondo productions.

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