Saturday, 24 November 2007
Jungle Bride (1933)
A ship sinks off the coast of Africa, and four mismatched survivors find themselves having to survive in the wild beat-infested jungle! This is the idea behind Jungle Bride, a 1933 offering from Monogram Pictures. The four castaways include an actor who is facing an accusation of murder if and when he reaches civilisation (he is of course innocent, this is the movies after all), his buddy, the man who is hunting him, and the woman whose brother he is alleged to have slain. The woman is (it goes without saying), beautiful, glamorous and blonde. Pretty soon they’re living a kind of Gilligan’s Island existence, but enlivened by the occasional wrestling match with man-eating lions (and it turns out that savage man-eating lions are not very good wrestlers). In between encounters with the wildlife (most of which is, surprisingly enough in a Hollywood movie of this vintage, actual African wildlife – not a tiger in sight) tensions simmer between Gordon Wayne (the accused killer) and John Franklin (the man hunting him) owing to the fact that they’re both in love with the aforementioned beautiful, glamorous and blonde Doris. Since Doris is played by Anita Page, on loan from MGM and looking stunning and very sexy, one can hardly blame them. The bonus here is that Ms Page can actually act - I use the present tense since she is apparently still very much alive and made a movie as recently as 2004. And since it’s a pre-code movie, her costumes are at times quite skimpy and on occasion she dispenses with clothing altogether. The rest of the acting is what you’d expect from a Monogram B-picture, but it doesn’t really matter. This is not exactly Hamlet, and Charles Starrett as Wayne is only required to look hunky, which is just about within his acting range. This is the sort of film that is very much for B-movie aficionados – those of us who adore cheesy social effects, rickety sets and amusingly bad acting. I you are such a person, then Jungle Bride is definitely fun.