Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Queen of the Amazons (1947)

Queen of the Amazons is one of those jungle adventure combined with exotic women movies that remained popular from the 1920s right through to the 60s, with a couple of late entries as recently as the 80s. The appeal was obvious - there was the promise of scantily clad women and “forbidden love” plus action and adventure. In fact they rarely delivered on most of these promises, but hope springs eternal in the hearts of movie-goers. And for the studios there was the advantage of being able to use huge amounts of stock footage, so they could be churned out for next to nothing.

This particular example dates from 1947 and was made by one of the Poverty Row studios that existed mainly to fill the insatiable demand for cheap B-movies. A young man has disappeared whilst on safari and since he was working undercover investigating ivory smuggling there is the suspicion he may have met with foul play. The usual miscellaneous group of adventurers - his girlfriend, his pal, his dad, a dotty scientist and a comic relief cook - set off to find him. There seems to be some confusion as to where this ill-fated safari took place they start their search in India but the action soon moves to Africa. Which gives the producers the chance to use stock footage of India as well as Africa!

As their journey progresses they hear rumours of a mysterious white woman ruling a lost kingdom of amazon women, and the rumours hint that she practises voodoo and possibly other wickedness as well. This amazon queen turns out to be not quite what they expected.

Surprisingly enough in the African sequences the stock footage actually features African animals. No tigers stalking the African plains in this one! Even more surprisingly the stock footage is generally at least vaguely relevant to the plot, and is integrated moderately well into the action. The acting is average B-movie standard, and the comic relief is less annoying than in most such movies.

In fact it’s a reasonably competent B-picture, with a fairly coherent plot. There’s some glamour and some action, and at only 61 minutes it feels less padded and better paced than most features of its type. If you’re a fan of this sort of thing (and I admit to having a bit of a soft spot for such movies) it provides adequate mounts of fun and enjoyment with a definite camp tinge to it.

The public domain print that I saw was actually quite decent, with perfectly acceptable image and sound quality.

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