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

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Skipper the dog and Tamba the chimp
CAPTIVE GIRL (1950). Director: William Berke.

In this third Jungle Jim movie, our hero (Johnny Weissmuller) crosses figurative swords with another former Tarzan, Buster Crabbe [The Sea Hound], this time playing an evil treasure hunter, Barton. Jim also has to deal with a female Bomba, a young lady named Joan (Anita Lhoest), who has been living on her own in the jungle since the murder of her parents, becoming a blonde goddess known as "the wild girl of Lake Bekonchi." Jim not only has to track the gal down -- she has a tiger for a pet -- but save her and others from the evil medicine man, Hakim (John Dehner of Please Murder Me), who wants to kill Chief Mahala (Rick Vallin of Escort Girl) so he can take over the tribe. The climax takes place at the sinister Lagoon of the Dead, where maidens have been sacrificed and skeletons and gems lay about the lake's bottom. While this is not quite as good as it sounds, I must admit that Captive Girl is peculiarly entertaining, much of this having to do with the animal antics of Jim's dog Skipper, his chimp Tamba, and even the crow [or raven] called Koko. Tamba and Skipper are a real cute duo, always cuddling and playing with each other ( in fact, one could say that they are better actors than most of the humans). An extremely bizarre sequence late in the movie has a huge horde of angry monkeys attacking Hakim and his men, presumably called upon by Tamba to do so. Even stranger is the sight of wild tigers in Africa! Padded with entertaining stock footage that sometimes blends in smoothly with the new scenes and sometimes doesn't.

Verdict: Seriously weird at times but strangely compelling. **1/2.

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