Zoo in Budapest (1933)

Article #1108 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-27-2004
Posting Date: 8-24-2004
Directed by Rowland V. Lee
Featuring Loretta Young, Gene Raymond, O.P. Heggie

Three refugees find themselves trapped in a zoo overnight. One is an orphan girl trying to escape the orphanage before she is bonded out to someone, the second an employee whose habit of stealing and burning fur coats from the visitors has gotten him in trouble with the law, and the third a young boy who escapes from his mother so he can ride the elephant at the zoo.

The title certainly doesn’t make this sound like a movie with fantastic elements; for that matter, neither does the plot description. Having seen it, I myself am not so sure whether it has or not; other than the fact that the zoo employee has an unusually high rapport with animals, I don’t think it does, and I’m not so sure that the rapport is enough to make it qualify. It is charming, however, with Gene Raymond’s athletic and spirited performance a particular highlight. And if the movie doesn’t really have fantastic elements, nonetheless it has certain spectacular elements; in particular, the last twenty minutes of the movie involves the escape of several wild animals (tigers, lions, leopards, elephants and the anomalous porcupines) and a daring rescue operation. In summary, if the slight fantastic elements don’t appeal to you, you still might find this one a good watch, particularly if you’re an animal lover or a fan of love stories.

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