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

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Johnny Weissmuller as Jungle Jim
FURY OF THE CONGO (1951). Director: William Berke.

Ronald Cameron (William Henry of Nearly Eighteen) asks Jungle Jim's (Johnny Weissmuller) help in tracking down the missing Professor Dunham (Joel Friedkin). Dunham is working on extracting a narcotic from the glands of a strange zebra-like animal called the Okango. Jim doesn't know that Cameron's men have already found the professor and are keeping him captive, and have also rounded up the men of a native village to help them capture the animals. The remaining females importune Jim for help, and he sets out with Cameron and Leta (Sherry Moreland) to find both the men and the professor. Lyle Talbot [The Vigilante] is another of the bad guys, along with George Eldredge [Shadows Over Chinatown] and Rusty Westcoatte. Among the livelier scenes in this standard Jungle Jim adventure are a fight with a lion, an attack on Jim by a giant "death-spider," and the climactic fight during a sand storm. It's fun to see the ladies of the village taking off after the men to free them. Timba the chimp stupidly knocks Jim right into quicksand at one point and there's a great deal of running around. The film is heavily scored (by a very wide variety of composers) to make the low-budget Columbia flick seem faster and more exciting. The natives are all white in this.

Verdict: The spider steals the picture. **1/2.

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