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King of the Wild

USA 1931
produced by
Nat Levine for Mascot
directed by Richard Thorpe
starring Walter Miller, Nora Lane, Tom Santschi, Cyril McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Dorothy Christy, Carroll Nye, Victor Potel, Martha Lalande, Mischa Auer, Lafe McKee
written by Ford L. Beebe, Wyndham Gittens


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Framed for the killing of an Indian Rajah by Dakka (Mischa Auer) - the actual killer - & big game hunter Harris (Tom Santschi), Robert Grant (Walter Miller) is arrested & convicted, but can escape prison, & from now on, disguised as an Arab, pursues Harris - who holds a letter that proves that Grant is not the killer.

Somewhere in Africa, Grant hooks up with shady Arab Mustapha (Boris Karloff), who has some dealings with Harris as the 2 of them want to cheat young American Tom (Carroll Nye) out of a diamond mine. Somehow Grant gets entangled in their affairs - without Harris recognizing him - & confides in Muriel (Nora Lane), Tom's sister & thus the only one knowing his real identity.

Mustapha soon comes up with the idea that the best way to get to Tom's mine is through a woman, & uses Mrs LaSalle (Dorothy Christy), who is deeply in his debt, to that end. Unfortunately she & Tom soon get into a fight, & she shoots him. Mustapha realizes the opportunity & convinces Miss LaSalle Tom is dead - which he isn't - & she has to flee the country, even providing her with a passage, & then goes on & convinces Harris Mrs LaSalle has fled with Tom on the ship.

Soon, Mrs LaSalle, Harris & his pet, the missing link (really) Bimi (Cyril McLaglen), Grant & Muriel all find themselves aboard a ship, plus old spinster Mrs Colby (Martha Lalande) - who is revealed to the audience as an secret service agent - & Scandinavian big game hunter Peterson (Victor Potel), as Mrs LaSalle is shot, & of course all of the involved are under suspicion, when the ship is wrecked by heavy waters, & all of the involved can make it to the coast only just, where they, in a native village, meet Mustapha again, who keeps Tom hidden away in a tent.

Mustapha though wants to get rid of the others & thus kills the natives' king, blaming the white people for his death. They manage to escape the clutches of the natives, if only just. On their escape though, Muriel, Mrs Colby & Peterson also discover Tom's diamond mine, but at first make little use of their discovery, since escape seems to be a priority ... & after a few more brushes with Mustapha's men, & with Grant helping Muriel to free her brother they even make it to the next city, where Grant, having obtained the letter that proves his innocence from Harris, gives himself up to the police, if only to clear his name, while Tom reports the location of the diamond mine to the same officer ... who is shot soon afterwards, & of course, everyone involved - Grant, Harris, Peterson, Muriel & a mysterious man in dark glasses - is under suspicion, while both the letter proving Grant's innocence and the location of the diamond mine are stolen once again, leading to many more hunts through the jungle, & brushes with both Mustapha & his men, & the natives, while the letter changes hands quite frequently between Mustapha, Harris, Grant & Peterson, who turns out to be a spy of evil Dakka.

In the end though, Grant, Harris & Muriel are captured by the natives to be executed, while the letter proving Grant's innocence is to be burned - wasn't it for Mrs Colby, who frees Muriel, who in turn gets hold of the letter, while Nimi once again scares away the natives.

& soon too, the local police arrive, trying to figure out who the real villain - besides all the obvious villainy by both Harris & Mustapha - is. It turns out to be ... The Man with the Dark Glasses, who uin turn turns out to be ... Mrs Colby, a vicious diamond thief who has killed Miss LaSalle - who really was a Secret Service agent - to get her credentials in order to get information about the mine. Of course, he/she is arreested, as well as Mustapha, while Grant is freed of his charges on account of the retrieved letter, & Harris, while desperately trying to escape his capture, is accidently killed by his own ape man Bimi.


Though the story is almost ridiculously complex for a serial, King of the Wild manages to stay quite enertaining throughout thanks to action aplenty, frequent change of locations & a flair of the exotic - all of which cause the actual plot to take a back seat anyways.

Originally, Mascot hired Harry Carey & Edwina Booth to star in the lead roles, as they had just starred in the somewhat similar themed Trader Horn by MGM, & Mascot was hoping to profit from the publicity campaign of that film. However, when shooting of this serial was about to start, Carey & Booth were unavailable due to massive reshooting on Trader Horn, so Mascot had to settle for Walter Miller & Nora Lane. Carey & Booth would co-star however in 2 later Mascot serials, The Vanishing Legion (1931) and Last of the Mohicans (1932).


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




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD