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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Jungle (1952)

Ancient wooly mammoths terrorize India!  Yep, that’s the plot of The Jungle which might have made a nice Saturday afternoon kid’s adventure flick but, beyond that, it has little merit.  Yes, the location is “exotic” but The Jungle tries too hard to be so.  Included are random native folk dances, a troupe of traveling entertainers, the weirdest boats I’ve ever seen in my life, and lots of exotic animals fighting each other.  Where is the ASPCA when you need them?  Sure, there are lots of sights to be seen but that’s about it.  The wooly mammoths only appear toward the end of the film and, disappointingly, they look like elephants wearing shaggy blankets.  Argh!

In addition to being exhaustingly exotic, The Jungle throws all that ethnicity aside by casting two white people in the lead roles.  Marie Windsor stars as Princess Mari.  There is nothing Indian about her appearance except for her fake tan.  [She grew up in Utah and went to Bringham Young University!]  Even her enormously painted on eyebrows and eye liner look more Egyptian than Indian.  To her defense, she’s a good actress and carries with role with energy and enthusiasm.

Cesar Romero [The Joker from the Batman TV series] plays her love/not-so-love interest Rama Singh.  They give him a turban to wear but little else to try and convince us he’s Indian.  He does a good job with the role, however, and matches Windsor’s energy in every scene.

Rounding out the cast is a man’s man, Rod Cameron who plays the misunderstood hunter who was the sole survivor of the first wooly mammoth attack.  He plays the role with that classic macho 1950’s man zeal that is sometimes unintentionally funny.

The Jungle was listed as part of a Sci-Fi double feature along with King Dinosaur, but there is very little sci-fi about it.  It feels more like an action/adventure movie with emphasis on the adventure.  There is lots of walking around interesting locations, waiting for dialogue..or something…to happen.  Horror fans, you’ve been warned!


For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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