Bat Men of Africa (1966)

Feature Version of the Serial DARKEST AFRICA
Article 1840 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-29-2006
Posting Date: 8-26-2006
Directed by B. Reeves Eason and Joseph Kane
Featuring Clyde Beatty, Manuel King, Elaine Shepard

Animal trainer Clyde Beatty meets a jungle boy on a trip to Africa, and agrees to rescue his sister from a lost city inhabited by flying bat men.

Yes, it’s another feature version of a serial here. This time it’s from the first Republic serial, DARKEST AFRICA, and for all practical purposes, it captures the strengths of the serial as well as its weaknesses. In particular, the repetition of footage is more pronounced here, as is some of the repetitiveness of the plot; basically, the story has our heroes trying to rescue the sister, getting caught and imprisoned, escaping, and then trying to rescue the sister, etc. There’s a couple of jewel thieves in the mix, a friendly gorilla, and an embarrassing comic relief character (who is fortunately used even less than he was in the serial). Still, the special effects are pretty good for their time, and this version is entertaining enough for the patient viewer.


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