Jungle Princess, The (1936)

“Devils are as real to these people as leopards and pythons are to us — as real, and a lot more terrifying.”

Synopsis:
While visiting Malaysia with his fiancee (Molly Lamont) and her father, a scientist (Ray Milland) is attacked by a tiger in the jungle, and rescued by a beautiful native girl (Dorothy Lamour) who falls in love with him.

Genres:

Review:
This innocuous tale of a native “wild child” who falls in love with the first (white) male she encounters after years of surviving on her own in the jungle is pure Hollywood fantasy all the way. There’s little in the silly narrative that’s either unique or interesting, and the “love triangle” element (between Milland, Lamour, and Lamont) is handled so tepidly that Milland’s character actually says at one point (with deadpan British politeness), “I’m terribly sorry, dear, but I’m afraid I seem to be in love with her.” This hard-to-find title is clearly included in Peary’s book simply because of its notoriety as Lamour’s breakthrough role, and she is indeed sumptuous to look at: all wide eyes and innocent giggles, with flowing brown hair and tinted skin, she would forever after be associated as the exotic, sarong-wearing love interest, most notably in the “Road To…” films with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby (no less than five of which are listed in Peary’s book!).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The impressive opening elephant stampede sequence — but watch Chang (1927) instead for an even more satisfying variation on this scene (and a much better film overall)

Must See?
No; this one is only must-see for diehard Dorothy Lamour fans.

Links:

One Response to “Jungle Princess, The (1936)”

  1. First viewing. Not a must.

    True, it’s “innocuous”. And sort of…blah. Seems Paramount decided to do their own spin on MGM’s Tarzan – with role switching (and, naturally, a Cheetah stand-in). This doesn’t match the early Tarzan level but it tries.

    20 minutes in (considering the first 10 minutes cover Lamour’s character as a young girl), this becomes rather paint by number. (Hint: Lamour’s name is the equivalent of “hello” and she pronounces Milland’s ‘Chris’ as ‘Kiss’.) It doesn’t become a memorable film.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.