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

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Helene Stanton as High Priestess Oma
JUNGLE MOON MEN  (1955). Director: Charles S. Gould.

In this "Johnny Weissmuller" (formerly Jungle Jim) adventure, Johnny (Weissmuller, of course) encounters a lady anthropologist named Ellen (Jean Byron) and her boyfriend, Bob (William Henry of The Thin Man). Naturally there are bad guys afoot, personified by Myron  Healey as Mark Santo, leader of a group of men who are after some diamonds. Good guys and bad guys alike come afoul of a tribe of midget "moon men" (presumably they worship the moon) armed with poisonous blow darts. It develops that these moon men are the subjects of one Oma, (Helene Stanton), their beautiful High Priestess, who lives in a cavern with a not-so-hidden entrance -- along with diamonds and a host of ravenous lions. In the movie's best scene, Oma has virtually all of the characters tied up and left in a chamber where lions are going to be released to feed upon them. The cute chimp Kimba sort of comes to their rescue. Like something out of Lost Horizon, Oma is apparently centuries old and comes to an expected end. Helene Stanton's talent (aside from her sex appeal) is obvious even in this cheapie, and that same year she was seen to better advantage in the excellent Cornel Wilde thriller The Big Combo. Unfortunately, her movie career only lasted two more years. Unlike in the previous non-Jungle Jim film, Weissmuller's last name is used more than once.

Verdict: A variety of elements thrown together to make a fairly entertaining jungle "epic." **1/2.

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