(director/writer: Norman Dawn; cinematographer: Norman Dawn; editor: Guido L. Redaelli; music: Gordon Zahler; cast: Lewis Wilson (Trent), Dana Broccoli (Queen Bonga Bonga), Frances Dubay (High Priestess), Charleen Hawks (Owoona), Mort Thompson (Kirby), Clarence Brooks (Sunga, Head Porter), Zona Siggins (Ulama Girl), Mary Brandon (Ulama Girl), Don Orlando (Count Sparafucile); Runtime: 62; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Morris M. Landres; Sinister/Something Weird Video; 1951)
“Enjoyable hokum jungle film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Norman Dawn (“Arctic Fury”/”Taku”/”Black Hills”) is writer and director of this enjoyable hokum jungle film, that has for a change the women as feared warriors (in accordance with a new kind of genre in the ’50s of women jungle films).
With their guide Sungu (Clarence Brooks) and two other porters, on an African safari, are the American big game hunter Kirby (Mort Thompson) and his opera buff Italian friend, Count Michelangelo Sparafucile, Jr (Don Orlando). After making camp for the evening, the dehydrated American Trent (Lewis Wilson) is found unconscious near the camp grounds. When awakened by Sungu he utters “Ulama, white sirens of Africa,” and then faints again. In the morning Trent tells the party he lived in the African jungle, in a thatched hut, as a child with his widowed father. We further learn that the Ulama are a feared female tribe, and that his dad took part in the attempt by the villagers to get rid of them through magical ceremonies. Shortly afterwards, Trent returned to America. We also learn that a few weeks ago Trent was on a safari with Sungu when he heard the cry of the Ulama and while searching for them fell in a ravine. Abandoned by the fearful of the women tribe Sungu, he alone wandered for days before being found by Kirby’s safari. Trent by telling the two safari white men how beautiful are the jungle women, has the safari try to track them. When located as residing by a mountain, in the Wongo area, Sungu and all the porters, out of fear, flee from the area. The Count is taken hostage by the tiger-skin clad Ulami. The Queen (Dana Broccoli), talking in pidgin English, orders the captive burned at the stake. His death is prolonged, while his two imprisoned mates, Trent and Kirby, are kept in a cave and dine on watermelon. After dinner, they watch the Queen’s enslaved domesticated husbands do a ceremonial dance while she looks over the captives to choose another husband for her harem. Hubby will be chosen in a competition, that includes wrestling matches with the Ulami warriors. Luckily for the men, jungle girl Owoona (Charleen Hawks) has a crush on Trent and frees all the captives. They head back to civilization with the romantic Owoona in tow.
The film uses stock footage from the previous African jungle films. The hour-long cheapie feature looks like Prehistoric Woman (1950), but with even cheaper production values.
REVIEWED ON 6/24/2015 GRADE: B-