The Flame Barrier (1958)

Article #1254 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-20-2004
Posting Date: 1-17-2005
Directed by Paul Landres
Featuring Arthur Franz, Kathleen Crowley, Robert Brown

A woman finances an expedition through a South American jungle to try to locate her husband, who went there to search for evidence of a downed rocket.

The opening sequence of this movie involves the launching of a rocket; since it consists entirely of stock footage, we’re spared from having to sort out any of the characters. Then we have a narrator telling us plot information that we can easily glean through the ensuing action. It’s only then that the movie really shows its colors; it’s none other than our old friend, the Double-Stuffed Safari-O. We have the spunky but beautiful woman who insists on financing a jungle expedition despite the fact that the rainy season is about to start, and we have the mercenary safari guide who initially doesn’t get along with the woman (read: romantic pairing). We have the safari guide’s hard-drinking brother who is seeking to prove his worth and also really likes the woman (read: fifth wheel destined to take himself out of the romantic fray via an act of self sacrifice). Then we have a handful of natives (read: monster fodder). Throw in a few stray animals to scare the woman, and the occasional death scene to keep reminding us that there’s something scary at the end of the road. The monster itself is pretty lame, and I can never quite figure out how it was able to kill the natives earlier in the movie when I look at its state near the end of the movie. All in all, it would be pretty easy to dismiss this one, but the cast is likable enough, and I was in a congenial mood when I watched it, it was actually a little fun just to let the routine plot unfold in its own predictable way. My major complaint: they killed off the chimp far too quickly.


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