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

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

THE LOST JUNGLE


THE LOST JUNGLE (1934). Mascot Serial Feature version [approx. 71 minutes]. Directed by Armand Schaefer and David Howard.

This is the feature-length version of the serial starring the real Clyde Beatty playing himself. While not any kind of Tyrone Power or Laurence Olivier, Beatty was an attractive fellow with an ingratiating manner, and he plays in this stuff about as well as many another serial hero. Clyde's girlfriend Ruth (Cecilia Parker) is hoping he'll propose before she has to go off with her father, Captain Robertson Edward LeSaint), on a voyage to the south seas. “He's different from other men,” she tells her father because she fears Clyde is more comfortable with animals than he is with women. When Ruth and the others wind up shipwrecked on a jungle island, Clyde goes to the rescue on a dirigible that falls apart in mid-ocean. Eventually he also winds up on the “lost island” of Kamor, which also has a lost underground city as well as a treasure. Sharky (Warner Richmond), a jealous associate of Clyde's, consistently causes trouble for everyone, as does a man-eating tiger they call Sammy [how anyone can have affection for a beast that slaughtered several crew members is never explored]. Clyde brings along his publicity man Larry (Syd Saylor) for comedy relief, and comes across a vital little Mickey Rooney in an early sequence. Although one can tell that this feature version leaves out a lot of plot details and possibly some exciting scenes, there's little in this that will make most viewers want to seek out a full-length version of the serial, although one is available on DVD.
Verdict: It doesn't look like one of Mascot's better entries. **.

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