MANHUNT IN THE AFRICAN JUNGLES (1943)
(a.k.a. SECRET SERVICE IN DARKEST AFRICA)
Article #1732 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-11-2005
Posting Date: 5-10-2006
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Featuring Rod Cameron, Joan Marsh, Duncan Renaldo
A secret service agent tracks down Nazi spies in Casablanca.
All right, let’s get my issue with the titles out of the way. I don’t care which one you pick; both of them seem to indicate that the action will take place in the jungle areas of Africa. At least that’s what I’ve always thought of as “darkest Africa”; to me, this movie looks like it takes place in a particularly well-lit and de-jungled part of Africa. In fact, it looks like it takes place in California, but I suppose there’s a reason for that.
But once you get past the title, this is Republic in their prime. The fantastic aspects are minor (a death ray pops up at one point) and I find neither the hero nor the villain particularly fun, but the furniture-busting warehouse-destroying fights are top-notch, and the cliffhangers are pretty darn good for the most part. I’m surprised it took the hero as long as it did to suspect that the tall blond Aryan-looking servant to the shiek who badmouths the United Nations and the hero at every opportunity is a Nazi spy, but otherwise, they wouldn’t have had fifteen episodes. Still, this is one of the better serials out there.