Bwana Devil (1952)

Bwana Devil (1952)

“What’s all this nonsense about a man-eating lion?”

In late 19th century British East Africa, a man (Robert Stack) in charge of a railroad building project stymied by the presence of two man-eating lions becomes obsessed with hunting them down — and the situation turns even more perilous when his wife (Barbara Britton) appears for an unexpected visit.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Africa
  • Arch Oboler Films
  • Robert Stack Films

This 3D adventure film by director Arch Oboler is notable for being the first feature-length film shot in color 3D, and for being the enormously popular movie watched by audience members in the classic photograph we’ve all seen for Time Magazine. Unfortunately, everything else about the film is notably undistinguished — from its so-so acting:

… to the lame special effects:

… to the “location” shooting in the Santa Monica mountains (supplemented by more authentic 2D footage Oboler caught in 1948).

Bosley Crowther got it right in his original review for the New York Times, in which he describes the film as having “little or no stimulation of a pictorial or dramatic sort.” To be honest, I was much more intrigued to read about the real-life story this movie was based on — the Tsavo man-eating lions — than watching the film itself.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Historically innovative use of 3D filming

Must See?
No. This one is only worth a look for its historical significance, if you’re curious.


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