The White Orchid (1954)
Article 5474 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Reginald Le Borg
Featuring William Lundigan, Peggie Castle, Armando Silvestre
Country: Mexico / USA
What it is: Mexican jungle movie
An archaeologist tries to organize an expedition into the jungle to find a tribe of descendants from the ancient Toltecs, but is only able to get the services of the necessary guide through the help of a female photographer who he doesn’t want along on the expedition. A romantic triangle develops.
I stumbled across this movie on the Mill Creek Action Classics set, and though none of my sources list this as genre, I’m making a judgment call here. The movie’s concept that an ancient culture still lives on in a tribe of people in uncharted territory puts the movie at least a bit into the “lost civilization” fantasy subgenre, and since they do encounter the tribe in question, this comes closer to genre territory than a lot of other jungle movies I’ve seen. Granted, the main thrust of the plot here is the romantic triangle, and it’s as hackneyed as you might expect; you won’t be surprised at the fate of one of the men. Yet, for all that, I found this one at least a little more entertaining than I would have expected, and I attribute this to a few interesting touches in the script. Even the direction by the usually dull Reginald Le Borg is better than usual for him. Yes, it’s marginal, but it came close enough for me to get an actual review rather than be consigned to the “too marginal” list.