Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

PYGMY ISLAND

Billy Barty and Johnny Weissmuller
PYGMY ISLAND (1950). Director: William Berke.

Army Captain Kingsley (Ann Savage of Dangerous Blondes) disappears when she leads an expedition into territory where she hopes to find a certain plant. This plant has unusual properties and will provide "strategic war materials." Major Bolton (David Bruce of Lady on a Train) arrives in Africa to search for Kingsley and confers with the famous Jungle Jim (Johnny Weismuller), who tells him that this plant grows primarily in pygmy territory. Some nasty foreigners led by Leon Marko (Steven Geray)  and his confederate Novak (Tristram Coffin) try to exploit the pygmies, who are led by Makuba (Billy Curtis). Billy Barty [The Day of the Locust] plays the likable pygmy, Kimba; in fact all of the pygmies seem to be played by Caucasian little people. Elephants go on a mini-stampede at one point, crushing a jeep and a truck, and Jungle Jim has an exciting battle with a crazed gorilla that tries to throw him off of a rope bridge into a watery chasm; the picture's best scene. Tamba the chimp gets in on the action as well. While this looks like an ultra-cheap Monogram production, the early Jungle Jim features were released by Columbia.

Verdict: Kind of dull for the most part. **.

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