RAMAR AND THE SAVAGE CHALLENGES (1953)
aka Ramar and the Seven Challenges
Article 5396 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Sam Newfield and Spencer Gordon Bennet
Featuring Jon Hall, Ray Montgomery, Nick Stewart
What it is: Jungle antics
Ramar, white medicine man of the jungle, has to deal with an ambitious witch doctor, a conniving oil company agent, an explorer with a secret, a woman who may be a were-leopard, and the ever-encroaching danger of stock footage.
A handful of TV-movies were made out of episodes of the TV series “Ramar of the Jungle”. This one was cobbled together from the episodes “Savage Challenge”, “Thunder Over Sangoland”, “Dark Justice”, and “Lady of the Leopards”. I also have to admit at the outset here that I haven’t actually SEEN this TV-Movie; I merely tried to emulate the experience by watching the four separate TV episodes. In other words, I cheated, but it’s not the first time and won’t be the last. The whole jungle genre remains marginal for the most part in terms of fantastic content, but at least the fourth of these episodes has a fantastic premise involving a white woman who is kept in a cage in the jungle because it is believed she turns into a leopard during the full moon, which makes this belong to the genre at least as much as SHE-WOLF OF LONDON. There’s a few other touches of fantasy and science fiction here, though they’re very light. The series itself is only so-so, but it has its moments. One thing I noted is that the movie ran 87 minutes, while the four episode would have clocked in at about 104, which means seventeen minutes were trimmed. I’m guessing this could have been easily done by the removal of beginning and ending credits, as well as time-filling plot-stopping moments of stock footage, a regular feature of this series. And though the show is politically incorrect by today’s standards, it does make a stab towards making the natives human rather than merely savages.