I’m still hooked on the jungle movie theme. Nabonga, made in 1944 by Poverty Row studio PRC, turns out to be a reasonably entertaining example of the breed.
An aircraft crashes somewhere in Darkest Africa. On board are an embezzler, the stolen loot from the bank he worked at, and his young daughter. Years later Ray Gorman (Buster Crabbe) the son of the manager of the bank, hears a rumour of a downed aircraft somewhere in the jungle. He sets out to find the embezzled money, to repair his father’s reputation (he was apparently held somewhat to blame) and to right the wrong that had been done so long ago. The rumour also speaks of a mysterious white witch living somewhere deep in this very forest.
The white witch is in fact the daughter of the embezzler, and she’s become a kind of female Tarzan. She is not all that enthusiastic about Gorman’s plans. And convincing her to co-operate isn’t easy, since she has a gorilla friend who is devoted to her and who tears apart anyone who threatens her (gorillas being notoriously savage and bloodthirsty creatures).
Naturally there are other sinister figures also on the trail of the crashed aircraft and the treasure it contains. The adventures are fairly predictable, and there’s lots of stock footage, but it’s done with a certain amount of energy and it remains entertaining. If you’re a fan of the jungle adventure genre it’s worth a look.
There are various public domain copies of this movie floating about. They’re not great, but this movie is not exactly great cinema so it’s not likely to get released in the Criterion Collection any time soon. The dodgy quality of the PD prints does at least give the right B-movie viewing experience!