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Bomba, the Jungle Boy

USA 1949
produced by
Walter Mirisch for Monogram
directed by Ford L. Beebe
starring Johnny Sheffield, Peggy Ann Garner, Onslow Stevens, Charles Irwin, Smoki Whitfield, Martin Wilkins
screenplay by Jack DeWitt, based on the novel by Roy Rockwood, musical director: Edward J. Kay

Bomba the Jungle Boy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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George Harland (Onslow Stevens) and his daughter Pat (Peggy Ann Garner) are on a safari through Africa to shoot some rare animals - with their cameras, because they are star photo reporters. However, along the way, George just pushes on and on to get more and better shots, ignoring the increasing danger he puts himself, his daughter and the whole safari, led by his best friend Andy Barnes (Charles Irwin) into ... and eventually, his daughter gets lost when a leopard kills her native guard and guide.

Eventually, Pat bumps into Bomba (Johnny Sheffield), a young white man living in the jungle with the animals, and even though he seems at first not all that interested into her, he eventually agrees to help her - but when he approaches the camp of her dad, Harland takes a shot at him and wounds him. Bomba now refuses to take Pat to her father, but takes her with him instead to take care of her. Meanwhile, her father leaves no stone unturned to find her, but by a sudden locust attack, he and his expedition are driven off into lion and Massai country, and for the Massai lions are sacred and nobody but them must kill them - yet Harland's black guide Eli (Smoki Whitfield) is attacked and almost killed by a lion, which prompts Barnes to shoot the lion after all ... and suddenly, Harland, Barnes and Eli find themselves on the run from the Massai warriors. Fortunately though, Bomba, sensing danger, and Pat have in the meantime taken pursuit of Pat's dad and company, and just in time, Bomba starts a wildfire to drive the Massai warriors back.

Pat and her father want to take Bomba back to America, but Bomba outright refuses, wanting to stay with his friends ...

 

In the same year his Tarzan-partner Johnny Weissmuller started his second career as Jungle Jim - a Tarzan in pants of sorts - Johnny Sheffield, Tarzan's Boy, started his second career, like Weissmuller in a jungle series, Bomba the Jungle Boy - a sort of young Tarzan.

Compared to Sheffield's last Tarzan films at RKO though or Weissmuller's Jungle Jim-movies, the first of Sheffield's series, Bomba, the Jungle Boy, is actually pretty solid: The plot is comparatively believable (within the confines of the jungle boy-genre), the natives are actually black (!), the jungle footage is inserted into the film rather nicely since it is about people shooting just that, jungle footage, the characters might be limited in number but are well fleshed out, there is even a bit of character development, and the movie actually shows respect for the Massai warriors (even if I'm not sure if their culture is portrayed all that accurately). Of course, the film also has its weak points, some of the jungle sets are awfully unconvincing, the budget was very obviously limited, and Johnny Sheffield is not the most charismatic of actors, but in all, Bomba, the Jungle Boy is a pretty decent jungle adventure of the B-variety.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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to make up ...
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD