(director: Spencer Gordon Bennet; screewriter: story and screenplay by Samuel Newman; cinematographer: William P. Whitley; editor: Gene Havlick; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast: Johnny Weissmuller (Jungle Jim), Jean Byron (Phyllis Bruce), James Seay (Abel Peterson), Jean Dean (Shalimar), Charles Horvath (Wombulu), Robert Bray (Maj. Bill Green), Rick Vallin (Sgt. Bono), Michael Fox (Karl Werner, aka Heinrich Schultz), William R. Klein (Co-Pilot), Richard Kipling (Commissioner Kingston), Paul Hoffman (Michael Kovacs), John L. Cason(Jerry Masters); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sam Katzman; Columbia Pictures; 1952)
“Routine adventure pic.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The ninth of Columbia’s “Jungle Jim” “B”-pictures. This routine adventure pic was directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet(“Killer Ape”/”Devil Goddess”/”The Three Stooges Follies“). The screenplay and story is bySamuel Newman.This one has Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) help a museum get back its stolen art treasures from the Nazis.
Professional guide Jungle Jim has been assigned by the government to escort British Museum researcher Phyllis Bruce (Jean Byron) through the Watusi jungle in Africa, as she studies why certain tribes worship the tiger if tigers are only found in India (a good question raised that’s never answered). While on the safari, they come across a sacrificial voodoo ritual led by evil witch doctor Wombulu (Charles Horvath). Tarzan frees the victim and burns the fanatical superstitious tribes’ tiger god effigy. Game hunter Abel Peterson (James Seay) and his henchmen, Michael Kovacs (Paul Hoffman) and Jerry Masters (John L. Cason) happen along and stop Wombulu from knifing Jungle Jim in the back.
A plane lands in Watusi and the American passenger, Major Green (Robert Bray), tells Commissioner Kingston (Richard Kipling) that he believes the trading post operator, Karl Werner, is an alias for Colonel Heinrich Schultz (Michael Fox), a Nazi who is a wanted man for smuggling out of France the valuable Schulman Art Collection during the war and is the last surviving Nazi to know where it’s hidden. It turns out the three game hunters are actually dangerous art thieves, who are also on Werner’s trail. When the good guys tussle with the bad guys at the trading post, Werner escapes and forces the co-pilot to fly him to another location. But the plane crash-lands in the jungle, in the middle of headhunter country, with all the passengers safe. Also aboard the plane is Shalimar (Jean Dean), with her tiger she uses in her nightclub act.
By the conclusion Jungle Jim must fight off the voodoo tribe, the headhunters, a dynamite booby trap, fight a lion in a cage with only a small knife his pet chimp Tamba slips him, and bring to justice the Nazi on-the-run and the three art thieves.
REVIEWED ON 7/4/2011 GRADE: B-