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The Lost Jungle

USA 1934
produced by
Nat Levine for Mascot
directed by David Howard, Armand Schaefer
starring Clyde Beatty, Cecilia Parker, Warner Richmond, Syd Saylor, Edward LeSaint, Wheeler Oakman, Maston Williams, Lew Meehan, Max Wagner, Wes Warner, Jim Corey, Ernie Adams, Slim Whitaker, Jack Carlyle, Hal Taliaferro (as Wally Wales), Crauford Kent, Harry Holman, Mickey Rooney, Lloyd Ingraham, Lloyd Whitlock, George Hayes (= Gabby Hayes), Henry Hall, Lionel Backus, Wilfred Lucas, Charles Williams, Bruce Mitchell, Frank Lanning
story by Sherman L. Lowe, Al Martin, screenplay by Colbert Clark, John Rathmell, music by Lee Zahler

serial

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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All ace animal tamer Clyde Beatty (Clyde Beatty) wanted to do was to go to India to collect some tigers - per dirigible as a publicity stunt. But the dirigible crashes on an uncharted island between Africa and India, where there are lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). The only other two survivors of the crash seem to be Clyde's publicist Larry (Syd Saylor) and his assistant Sharkey (Warner Richmond) ... and problem is, the latter has always thought Clyde is only stealing his wind and he is the better animal tamer (even if there are no facts to substantiate this), so he only needs an opportunity to get rid of Clyde for good ...

Point is, Clyde and Larry are separated from Sharkey upon the crash, and they believe him dead ... while he actually finds the hidden city of Kamor, the dying professor Livingston (Crauford Kent), and a priceless treasure case - and of course, from here on, all his attention is focussed on the treasure. For some reason, he also puts on the costume of the sole native guard of the treasure he killed in self defense ...

Clyde and Larry on the other hand make friends with Captain Robinson (Edward LeSaint) and his daughter Ruth (Cecilia Parker) of the ship Livingston has chartered, and with the help of the ship's crew, Clyde soon captures animal upon animal for his next circus act. However, eventually some crewmen find the treasure, and when the other crewmen find out, they all want their hands on it, and thus they mutiny. However, the sailors are soon split up into several sections, all at war with one another, and even those in league with one another don't trust each other. All they really agree on is they are against the captain, Ruth, Clyde and Larry ... and thus the treasure exchanges hands several times while our heroes and villains have to counter all sorts of jungle threats (mostly by Clyde showing off his animal taming skills), and the situation also leads to many chases, fights, double and triple crosses.

Only one of the sailors, Slade (Max Wagner), has actually hooked up with Sharkey and for a while they work with each other, but the longer the thing goes on, the more paranoid Sharkey gets, and eventually he even kills Slade, later wrecks parts of the hidden city only to kill the Captain and his daughter (he fails), plus he sees to it that the city's resident gorilla gets several people to maim.

Eventually, the captain, his daughter and Clyde get the sailors back in line, and they promise all of them their fair share if only they work together to leave the island as soon as possible ... but then Sharkey gets his hands on the treasure once again, and while Clyde and Larry go after him, two rogue sailors (Wheeler Oackman, Lew Meehan) get away to try their luck in obtaining the treasure for themselves as well. Eventually, Sharkey leads the sailors into death by gorilla and crocodiles respectively, before Clyde and Larry, who have up to now been unaware of his very survival, can get their hands on him and take him back to the captain as a prisoner, together with the treasure. Oh, and of course, ultimately Clyde gets the girl, and as many animals as he can handle ...

 

Clyde Beatty might not have been much of an actor (as the previous year's The Big Cage had already proven), but he really knew how to handle wild animals - which of course made him a perfect serial hero, as serials never demanded too much and too intensive acting, but needed plenty of escapist action - and what spells escapist action better than a treasure hunt in the jungle featuring authentic wild animals the hero actually squares off against?

Well, of course, the inclusion of a then-famous animal trainer alone didn't make a serial already, but in The Lost Jungle, most ingredients seem just right, jungle locations, wild animals, a lost civilisation, a buried city, many shoot-outs, chases, fist fights, all held together by a fast-paced directorial effort that also glosses over many budgetary shortcomings, and - and I know I repeat myself - authentic animal action.

That said, the whole thing is not perfect, it's a bit too simplistic in plot, at times repetitive, at times leaves the most interesting aspects of the story unexplored in favour of another animal act ... but it's fun at least.

 

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
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
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