FURY OF THE CONGO (1951)
Article #721 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-6-2003
Posting Date: 8-3-2003
Directed by William Berke
Featuring Johnny Weissmuller, Sherry Moreland, William Henry
Jungle Jim discovers that a gang of drug dealers are using gland extracts from a rare horse-like animal to create their drugs.
When Johnny Weissmuller became too old to play Tarzan any longer, he made a series of low-budget movies around the character of Jungle Jim; they’re essentially Tarzan movies without Tarzan. He’s still in good enough shape to do scenes without his shirt, as he exhibits in the opening scenes here, but he does spend less time in the trees and more on land. A giant spider is the most fantastic element in the movie, and it is anomalous, used for a quick thrill and then no longer a part of the story. It’s largely just a rather tepid action movie, and I’m really not much of an action fan when you get down to it, so I have limited use for this one.
It did help me to define a new term, though; the Xerox Chase Scene. This is a type of chase scene that pops up a lot in low-budget action movies and serials. You begin by establishing that person B is chasing person A. Then, you find a stretch of landscape. Person A enters at point A, and then drives/runs/rides across the landscape to exit at point B, the camera following him every step of the way. The camera then cuts back point A in the landscape. Person B enters at point A, and then drives/runs/rides across the landscape to also exit at point B, the camera once again following him every step of the way. At no point do we see pursuer or pursued in the same frame. These two scenes are shot identically except for the fact that the people are different. You then cut to a new landscape and repeat the process again. You do this repeatedly until you’ve padded the running time enough. This happens several times in this movie, and I must admit that (IMHO) this is possibly the least interesting way I know of to shoot what should be an exciting sequence.