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

Thursday, June 4, 2009


JUNGLE JIM (1948). Director: William Berke.

A middle-aged Johnny Weissmuller (pictured) trades in the loincloth of Tarzan for the safari suit of Jungle Jim, which was based on an Alex Raymond comic strip. The snappy Virginia Grey plays Dr. Hilary Parker, who is hoping to get a cure for polio from a witch doctor -- while others are just hoping to find treasure. George Reeves gives a lively performance as a creepy photographer and Rick Vallin plays, of all things, a native chieftain. Lita Baron is the bitchy native girl who tells Parker that she's "like a man." There are elephant stampedes, falling boulders, an attack by alligators, an odd crocodile with a tail that's more like a tentacle, and a trained crow that pecks at typewriter keys. The best scene has Jim dangling from the side of a cliff; his wrestling with a lion isn't bad, either. This may be mostly stock footage, but it plays. Reeves is more interesting as a bad guy than as a hero. Grey also appeared in Black Zoo.

Verdict: Fast-paced jungle fun. **1/2.

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