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

Thursday, February 4, 2016


John Ericson and Leslie Parrish
THE MONEY JUNGLE (1967). Director: Francis D. Lyon.

Four geologists are killed in suspicious "accidents" and it all seems tied in to whether or not a certain field contains oil. The board of directors of the Jumbo Oil Co. hire private investigator Blake Heller (John Ericson) to look into the murders and other matters. As he proceeds with his investigation the murders continue, until an unexpected assailant is revealed. The Money Jungle pulls you along without ever developing into a good movie. On the production level it resembles a failed TV pilot, but apparently that is not the case, and there's not a trace of style or panache to be found. Luke Heller is not your typical private eye with a seedy office, many bills, and hordes of panting women (although there are a couple). Heller lives in a large, expensive house, obviously makes big bucks dealing with corporate espionage and the like, and generally kisses women on the cheek or forehead. Frankly, this might have actually made a good series, it it had been well-handled. Ericson [Honey West] is okay as Heller, and the interesting cast includes Nehemiah Persoff [The Wild Party], Don Rickles, Lola Albright [Peter Gunn] and Leslie Parrish. Persoff and Rickles are fine, while Parrish offers an oddly subdued and relatively ineffective performance. Lola Albright is a lousy singer, but she's quite vivid in her turn as one of Heller's acquaintances. Charles Drake, Kent Smith and Michael Forest have smaller roles and are all good.

Verdict: Done with a bit of flair this might have amounted to something. **.

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