The Jungle (1952)

THE JUNGLE (1952)
Article #851 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-14-2003
Posting Date: 12-11-2003
Directed by William Berke
Featuring Rod Cameron, Cesar Romero, Marie Windsor

An expedition is made into the depths of India to investigate reports of mammoths.

Title check: Since it does take place in a jungle, it’s appropriate enough, but it’s also vague enough that it could have been called any one of a number of other titles; THE MAMMOTHS, THE COWARDLY HUNTER, THE PRINCESS, THE PRINCESS’S BOYFRIEND, THE KNEELING ELEPHANT, THE WRESTLING BEAR, THE PYTHON IN THE TREE, etc.

This movie has helped me to concoct a new movie term; THE DOUBLE-STUFFED SAFARI-O. This movie is like an Oreo cookie in that it consists of exposition at one end, denoument at the other, and is filled in the middle with an overly generous helping of safari. Unfortunately, unlike most Oreo cookies, the stuffing is hardly the best part.

Actually, I take that back; the stuffing may be the best part of this lame little movie. Despite a certain science-fiction angle in the plot, the movie is predictable fare; it’s something like MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL with mammoths instead of wasps. If there is anything really novel about it, it is that it takes place in India rather than Africa, and it actually looks like it was filmed on location. Consequently, there is a novelty to the scenery that sets it apart from most other jungle movies, so I’d have to say the movie works best as a travelogue.

Oh, and what are cold-weather creatures like mammoths doing in the sultry climate of India? The answer is perfectly clear; there were plenty of elephants present to wear those heavy shaggy coats to make them look like their prehistoric relations (you’ll notice that you never see the mammoths in the same shot with the humans so you can do some comparison of the sizes).

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