JUNGLE HELL (1956)
Article 3389 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-12-2010
Posting Date: 1-24-2010
Directed by Norman A. Cerf
Featuring Sabu, K.T. Stevens, David Bruce
What it is: Jungle hell
There’s these flying saucers, see? And they bring these radioactive rocks and control tigers and elephants. The local shaman has a rock, but scientists are interested in it, as well as elephant hunters. And there’s these elephants, and… Ahh, let’s stop pretending that this movie has a plot.
Those of you who have followed my series for some time probably recall my discussion of the “Double-Stuffed Safari-O”; those are jungle movies that open with exposition, end with denouement, and are filled in the center with an overly generous helping of safari. Generally, the term is not used in a complimentary sense, but after seeing this aptly-named mess of a movie, I grew to appreciate at least one thing about Double-Stuffed Safari-Os; they have a structure and a story, whereas this movie seems to have neither. If you watch it, I hope you like elephants; nearly twenty percent of the footage in this movie involves these pachyderms (and I know because I timed it), and since none were used in the footage originally shot for this movie, it’s all stock footage. Furthermore, it probably only accounts for about forty percent of the stock footage in the movie; between the stock footage of other animals, airplanes, buildings from Bagdad, London and New York, etc… I’d have to say that a good half of this movie is made up of stock footage. The remaining thirty-seven minutes consist mostly of actors wandering through a backlot jungle and staring at whatever the stock footage is showing. There’s an occasional shot of a flying saucer hovering in limbo; in fact, it feels as if the whole flying saucer aspect of the movie was tacked on at the last minute to turn the movie into science fiction, as little mention is made of the saucers anywhere but in the opening and closing narrations. If there is a plot, it’s mostly about rock-hunting.
In short, this is a nearly unwatchable mess of a jungle movie. If you do choose to watch, I hope you like elephants.