Naked Jungle, The (1954)
“Frankly, you’re not what I expected.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
… “and hang on until the exciting second half of the picture”, when “armies of flesh-eating red ants march through the jungles and devour everyone in sight”.
Unfortunately, the first “half” feels much longer than this, and the finale — while reasonably impressive for the era — is no reason to stick around, especially given that you’ll have to put up with blatantly racist, colonial drivel such as the following, when Parker is offered a young boy as her personal servant:
At least the laughably melodramatic interactions between Heston (never more wooden) and Parker provide some unintended chuckles:
… as do the ongoing metaphorical allusions to Heston’s piano:
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
One thought on “Naked Jungle, The (1954)”
I know I saw this on tv when I was a kid. It’s the kind of thing that would have gotten a lot of play at that time. It’s basically a sort of mix of ‘Them!’ and ‘The African Queen’ (both also from this era).
But it’s not nearly as interesting as either of those films. And, at least for a kid, the excitement does come way too late. (‘Them!’ is more successful as a scary movie – since the creatures appear almost from the beginning.)
One might have expected a better script from the likes of reliable pros like Ranald MacDougall and Philip Yordan (unless this was one of the many assignments that Yordan farmed out to others; quite possible). As a love story, it’s dull; as a monster movie, it’s more silly than anything else.
Bottom line: in agreement, this one really can just be skipped. Heston’s acting is not bad in a fun way – and Parker (who is usually not bad, whether over the top or not) is only asked to be earnest.