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Jungle Girl

USA 1941
produced by
Republic
directed by William Witney, John English
starring Frances Gifford, Tom Neal, Trevor Bardette, Gerald Mohr, Eddie Acuff, Frank Lackteen, Tommy Cook, Robert Barron, Al Kikume, Bud Geary, Al Taylor, Joe McGuinn, Jerry Frank, Ken Terrell, Jay Silverheels
screenplay by Ronald Davidson, Norman S. Hall, William Lively, Joseph O'Donnell, Joseph F. Poland, Alfred Batson, based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, music by Cy Feuer, Ross DiMaggio, Mort Glickman, Paul Sawtell

serial
Nyoka

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Nyoka (Frances Gifford) lives in the jungle with her father Dr Meredith (Trevor Bardett) among a tribe of benign natives, when a bunch of white men - Stanton (Tom Neal), his sidekick Curly (Eddie Acuff) and shady Slick (Gerald Mohr) arrive to fetch Dr Meredith to look after his twin brother Bradley (also Trevor Bardett) - a twin brother the doctor has never even told Nyoka about (and doesn't do so now) because he's evil ... but he's also on his death bed, so Dr Meredith accompanies them. Unbeknowest to Stanton and Curly though, Slick is in league with Bradley and helps him kill the doctor so Bradley can take his place. Why? Because the doctor has a key (in shape of a lion amulet) to a fortune in diamonds the natives keep at their mantrap-riddled temple, something the baddies want to get their hands on, obviously.

What Bradley and Slick don't know though is that while the doctor was away, evil high priest Shamba (Frank Lackteen) has stolen the lion amulet to gain control over all the tribes of the region, something the white-man-medicine of the doctor has prevented him from doing. He has also "killed" the doctor in a voodoo ritual ... so imagine his surprise when the "doctor" returns - of course it's actually Bradley, but not even his own daughter seems to notice.

Now of course, Slick and Bradley want the amulet Shamba is having, Shamba wants Bradley dead believing him to be the doctor ... so that means war. On the other hand, Slick and Bradley just want the diamonds, Shamba doesn't care that much about the diamonds but wants control over the tribes ... so that means uneasy alliances, full of double and triple crosses. But no matter what, Nyoka, Stanton and Curly always end up in the middle and have to fend off enemies from both sides ... which means lots of chases, shoot-outs, fistfights, death traps, and of course many an excursion into the mysterious temple that almost always end in near-disaster.

It's only eventually that Nyoka and company find out that Slick's a baddie first, and Bradley's not her father later, but by that time they seem already fighting a losing battle ... until they get their hands on the diamonds and Slick and Bradley have a fall-out with Shamba. From then on it's a race for the only plane out of the country - and eventually of course our heroes prevail while Slick meets an especially unpleasant death falling out of a flying airplane.

 

Jungle Girl is first and foremost just a fun serial. Of course, it's neither in the least faithful to Edgar Rice Burroughs' source material, nor is it high on realism, and the Afcican jungle just looks like an adventure park ... but hey, the rides seem to be good. Plus the whole thing is fast-moving, there's plenty of action, and what the serial lacks in scope it makes up for in inventiveness when it comes to its action setpieces, death traps and the like. Plus, this is often quoted as the serial that returned the female heroine to the genre, and Frances Gifford makes for a fine jungle girl.

Basically, no masterpiece maybe, but a fine piece of jungle cliffhanger nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD