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

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Flash Gordon and Ming: Buster Crabbe and Charles Middleton
DRUMS OF AFRICA (aka Jungle Man/1941). Director: Harry Fraser.

William Graham (Paul Scott) comes to Africa with his daughter, Betty (Sheila Darcy of Irish Luck). William hopes to find the ruins of a lost city, while Betty is intrigued by Robert Hammond (Buster Crabbe), a doctor whom the natives call "Junga" (he does not, however, run around in a loincloth like Tarzan or Thun'da). Betty also has a fiance named Bruce (Weldon Hayburn), who is accompanying her father on his search for the "City of the Dead." Hammond is hoping to develop and mass produce a serum that can counteract a fever that threatens to break out and kill many people. Hammond is a friend of Betty's uncle, the "reverend" Jim Graham (Charles Middleton), who has a pet tiger he calls "Satan." The chief fun of Drums of Africa is in seeing "Flash Gordon" and his hated adversary "Ming the Merciless" cast as good friends [see photo]. The lost city is interesting-looking, and there's lots of shots of assorted wild life. The picture is basically a mish mosh, thrown together with lots of stock footage, but somehow it holds the attention and it's always great to see Middleton, even if his talents are greatly under-utilized in this. Vince Barnett makes an impression as the ill-fated guide, "Buckthorne." From Pictorial Films.

Verdict: Back lot jungle adventure is cheap but entertaining. **1/2.


Neil A Russell said...

Thanks for pointing this one out, found it on Youtube and am saving it for the weekend!

Neil A Russell said...

I lied, I'm watching it now.
This is the film that out-Star Wars Star Wars.
The stunning revelation that Ming is Flash Gordon's father.
Eat your heart out George Lucas!

Neil A Russell said...

Well the "father" gag fell flat when I found out he's a preacher. Still I got a laugh, and in the long run isn't that what counts?

William said...

You said it!

I still say Ming was Flash Gordon's father. On a furtive trip to Earth Ming encountered Flash's mother and returned to Mongo, and the rest is history, LOL!