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

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Bad Gals: Carol Hughes and Veda Ann Borg

JUNGLE RAIDERS (15 chapter Columbia serial/1945). Director: Lesley Selander.

Jake Rayne (Charles King) runs a trading post on the outskirts of the jungle, and is keeping Dr. Reed (Budd Buster) prisoner in his basement because he thinks he knows the location of some treasure. Cora Bell (Veda Ann Borg) a hard-as-nails associate of Rayne's, brings Reed's daughter, Ann (Janet Shaw) to Rayne in order to use her to force her father to comply, but Ann is fortunate to meet up with Bob Moore (Kane Richmond) and his buddy, Joe (Eddie Quillan). Bob's father, Dr. Moore (John Elliot) is a colleague of Dr. Reed who hopes to find a certain fungus in the jungle that may prove as much a boon to mankind as penicillin. In addition to Rayne's team of bad guys, the heroes and Ann have to contend with the evil witch doctor (Ted Adams) of the Arzec tribe, who know the secret of both the fungus and the treasure, and their High Priestess, Zara (Carol Hughes), who is always calling for sacrifices. When they aren't slapping each other around, Cora and Zara are uneasy allies and both come to a fitting end in the final chapter. The natives of Jungle Raiders seem more like Indians than Africans, and one chieftain sounds as if he just got off the bus from Brooklyn! There isn't much "jungle" to be seen in Jungle Raiders, and the serial is overlong and meandering, but there are a couple of good cliffhangers, such as when Bob and his father are hung over a pit with sharp stakes at the bottom of it, and also when old Dr. Moore is nearly drowned and eaten by gators at the same time, and has his head placed under a big boulder by bitchy Zara. Whatever its flaws, the serial is reasonably entertaining, and Borg offers a vivid portrait of a heartless tough gal only out for herself. Kane Richmond is stalwart, as usual, and Quillan offers the same vaguely comical character as ever.

Verdict: Hard-boiled Veda vs. Zara. **1/2.

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