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

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Karin Booth and Richard Wyler
JUNGLE MAN-EATERS (1954). Director: Lee Sholem.

Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) learns that yet another new diamond field has been discovered, and he and others fear the precious gems could be smuggled out to "flood the diamond markets of the world." Jim also encounters the lady doctor, Bonnie Crandall (Karin Booth of Let's Do It Again), who's a cute trick; and Inspector Jeffrey Bernard (Richard Wyler aka Richard Stapley of The Strange Door), who's handsome -- the two do even more smooching than the romantic couple in the previous Jungle Jim picture, but again Weissmuller gets no action. Mssr. Leroux (Gregory Gaye) is a member of the diamond syndicate who hides his true, more nefarious, purposes. In a weird sequence, Prince Zuwaba (Bernie Hamilton), is told that his wife has given birth to a baby boy, but that the mother died. Everyone congratulates Zuwaba on the child, but no one expresses any condolences over the woman! (Zuwaba seems to get over it pretty fast in any case.) The pretty doctor gets along swimmingly with the Inspector, but generally finds the mischievous chimp Tamba to be too much of a pest; Tamba is typically adorable. There are burned villages, angry natives, and a climactic cliff fight between Jim and Leroux that ends as expected. Hamilton later appeared on the sixties Tarzan TV series, and had many credits, including The Devil at 4 O'clock. There are no actual man-eaters in the movie. Although three films remained in the series, this is the last picture in which Weissmuller is referred to, or actually plays, "Jungle Jim."

Verdict: Standard Jungle Jim adventure with some rather attractive players. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Good for Weissmuller; lucky that he was able to keep working long after his glory days.
He amassed quite a fortune, and lived in South Florida in a gorgeous house near the beach in Fort Lauderdale in the mid to late 1970s. We used to hang out nearby to see if he would come out, but he never did--or if he did we didn't recognize him.

William said...

It's possibly the latter, LOL! But if I had lived in Ft. Lauderdale I probably would have trekked to his mansion in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Tarzan, too. I imagine he didn't bother to stay in shape as he got older so you might have mistaken him for someone else!

Anyway, it's good to know that he lived well in his later years, especially when you hear so many stories of once-famous actors living in abject poverty. There was a series of books called, I believe, "Whatever Happened to...?" and some of the fates of these people were pitiful ... Sad. The ones who somehow held on to what they made or invested in real estate were the best off.