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

Thursday, February 19, 2015


BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY (1949). Director: Ford Beebe.

"Filmed in glorious sepia tone," Bomba the Jungle Boy is the first in a series based on the children's books by Roy Rockwood. Photographer George Harland (Onslow Stevens of The Vanishing Shadow), his daughter, Pat (Peggy Ann Garner of Black Widow), and their friend, Andy (Charles Irwin) try to find more interesting wildlife and scenic views across a certain "Big Rift," but Pat gets lost. Bomba (Johnny Sheffield), who was raised by an old recluse who died, isn't too crazy about Pat at first, but then warms up to her, helping her build a refuge. When Pat asks Bomba for a leopard skin, he tries to take his off right in front of her; later she shows up in a remarkably professional leopard dress that seems fitted, patterned and sewn by experts. There is a plague of locusts, some hungry lions, a monkey named Otto, and more stock footage than you can shake a stick at. This is an ultra-cheap Monogram production that even serial thrill-king Ford Beebe can't do much with. The best performance is from Smoki Whitfield as the personable and bright native guide, Eli. Sheffield, of course, played "Boy" in the Tarzan films.

Verdict: Definitely room for improvement with this series. **.

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