Jungle Man

Year Of Release: 1941
Running Time: 63 Minutes
DVD Released By: Alpha Video
Directed By: Harry Fraser
Writing Credits: Rita Douglas
Filming Location: Unknown

Starring: Buster Crabbe (Dr. Robert Hammond), Charles Middleton (Rev. James Graham), Sheila Darcy (Betty Graham), Vince Barnett (Buckthorn the Guide), Weldon Heyburn (Bruce Kellogg), Robert Carson (Andy), Paul Scott (William Graham), Hal Price (Capt. Aleck), Floyd Shackelford (Friday)

Tagline: I was unable to locate any taglines for this film.

Alternate Titles:
Drums of Africa (USA)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Charles Middleton was born on October 3, 1874 and died of a heart attack on April 22, 1949. Throughout his career he acted in 196 films covering a wide variety of genres beginning with the film Wits vs. Wits in 1920. Of all the films he made throughout his career however, there was but one role that he was best known for, and that role was Flash Gordon's nemesis, Ming the Merciless, from the Flash Gordon serials of the late 30's and early 40's. The son of a millionaire, Middleton didn't have to work, but took up acting in an effort to express himself.

Cast Of Characters
Dr. Robert Hammond: Well, when he's not being Flash Gordon, he's hangin' out in the jungle trying to cure some serious disease they have over there called Malaca. There's really not much more to say about him. That's all he really does. That and putting up with Betty being all annoying and stuff.

Reverend James Graham: I'm sorry to say that not only did Charles Middleton not have much of a part in this movie, but his performance damn near put me to sleep. Honestly, this guy needs some serious lessons in line delivery, and some general acting lessons as well. Now I know what you're thinking. "HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT ABOUT THE LEGENDARY CHARLES MIDDLETON????" Easy. I just bang my fingers on the keyboard and the words come out. I thought Max Von Sydow made a far better Emperor Ming in the Flash Gordon movie from 1980 than Middleton ever did. Anyway, back to this movie, he was William's brother and had been an African missionary for years and years. Yeah, that's about it. I'm not really sure why he was even in this movie except to give everyone a place to stay. Oh, and he has a pet tiger named Satan. Whoopie! Let's move on.

Betty Graham: Oh man. And the award for worst line delivery in a film goes to? This dopey annoying chick right here. She's one of those strong willed women who just do whatever they want without ever considering the consequences. She even dragged her father against his will all the way to Africa because she was so tired of doing all the normal things rich people do. Man I wanted to slap her so bad. Just as a side note, she's engaged to Bruce, but that sorta gets broken at the end of the movie when he became life challenged. He probably just croaked to get away from her. I know I would.

Bruce Kellog: Some people have way too much money. This guy is one of them. He gets it in his head that he wants to traipse off to deepest darkest Africa so he can shoot some footage of the legendary City of the Dead. I saw City of the Dead once. It was a lame zombie movie. If this movie had some zombies in it, it would have been a lot more interesting. Anyway, this poor guy suffers all through the movie to get there and then dies at the end. Whoopie! I almost died at the end too...of boredom.

Andy: This is Bruce's buddy Andy. He's the guy who hangs around. That's all he really does...hang around. He's got a few lines to say, but that's about it. Whoopie! He probably wasn't even supposed to be in the movie in the first place. Actually, what probably happened is that he's like the producer's wife's cousin or something so they had to throw him in there somewhere to keep the ol' bat happy.

William Graham: This poor guy. Well he's not poor, he's rich actually, and in fact he's one of those people you can tell has never had a real job or done anything important with his life. Still, none of what goes on in this movie is really his fault except that he seems to lack the cajones to stand up to his daughter and tell her how it's gonna be. So this poor unfortunate fellow gets dragged all the way to Africa for the most miserable vacation of his life. At least he got to see his brother Jim whom he hadn't seen in like thirty years. He probably had a good rest too considering that listening to Jim talk for thirty seconds is about the equivalent of taking a half a bottle of sleeping pills. By the end of this movie, I was ready to take a whole bottle.

Buckthorn the Guide: Some guide. This guy is afraid of everything. I'd like to know how a guy who's basically afraid of everything in the jungle and doesn't seem to know his way around all that well ever ended up as a guide in the first place? This guy should be an accountant in a refrigerator factory in New Jersey instead of leading people through the African jungle.

Screen Shots

"Oh man, Andy! Check out the sweet rack on that dame over there. I wonder if she likes sailors? You think she'd believe me if I told her I was one of the Village People? Oh wait, maybe that'd be the wrong thing to tell her..."

"Jeez, this chemistry stuff sure is hard. Ok let's see. One part of this...three parts of this... Gee, I hope the professor isn't still sore at me for that little explosion I caused back in college. After all, his eyebrows did grow back in real nice, and you can hardly notice that limp at all anymore."

"You know the chemical compounds necessary for the completion of the formula when combined in the right environmental conditions form a polyurethenic bond that allows them to be cohesive in... Hey are you listening? I'm talkin' over here! Oh man, asleep again. You know it really creeps me out when he falls asleep sitting up like that."

This is the map Robert drew for Bruce to help him find the city of the dead. Now honestly, would you walk through the jungles of Africa based on a map that looks like a kid's meal place mat from a fast food joint? I sure as hell wouldn't. Fortunately however, Bruce is a lot stupider than I am, so he heads right on out through the deep dark jungle, and thus drags out this boring turd of a movie for another thirty seven and a half minutes or so. Thanks Bruce! What would we do without ya?

Would someone please tell this girl that Africa is no where near Hawaii. Sheesh! No luau for you baby. Tonight you eat grubs mixed into that pasty, goopy stuff the relief agency sent over.

"Aww c'mon baby. I'm quite a catch. Why, just look at my big manly chest. Check out these big ol' biceps. And hey, take a whiff. I been out here workin' in the hot sun all day and I don't even got any pit stank. Whatcha say baby?"

Is it time for this movie to be over yet?

Best Quote

Friday: "Oom shooba baka laka dooba shaba dooba shooba badooba aba doo."
Bruce: "Well, same to you. What'd he say?"

- Friday greeting the safari group with Bruce trying to be friendly back at him. - (Reviewer's Note: You know, I was wondering the same thing myself.)

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Jungle Man
Oh that Buckthorn. He sure gets wrapped up in his work.

Summary and Conclusion

Oh man, I really like Buster Crabbe a lot, but what a snoozer this movie was. There wasn't much of a story, the characters weren't anything special, the action was lame, there was a fair bit of stock footage and generally the acting in this movie ranged from bad to worse. Buster Crabbe was the only real saving grace in this movie, playing his part in that professional, Flash Gordonish way he always does. But the rest of the cast were stinkin' up the place like an old pair of mildewed sweat socks.

The biggest problem with this movie though is not so much a lack of acting ability, but the lack of a decent story to work with. The story is really boring! Basically, some rich folks go to the jungle and meet up with one of the rich folks' brother who's a missionary there. While there, they meet the doctor who's trying to find a cure for this disease called Malaca that's killing lots of people. That's about it really. I think back and try to figure out what the point to this movie was, and I realize that it didn't really have one. This seems like one of those movies that was just made for the sake of making a movie, and not really for any other reason. There was no great story to tell here, and Buster Crabbe was the only interesting person in the cast, aside from the guide, Buckthorn, who was played amusingly by Vince Barnett.

I guess while I'm writing this up, I should clarify my statements about Charles Middleton. Yes I know he was Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon serials, and yes I know he's basically a legend, but the man has no emotion in his acting at all. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching a cardboard cutout with a speaker behind it. He talks like an old baptist preacher from the mid-west. I don't know if that's an accurate description really, but man, he's so boring and unemotional, it's like instant boredom when he's on the screen. I'm sorry to say that and I know many people would probably disagree with me, but that's how I feel and I'm stickin' with it.

Now, normally my review conclusion would be longer, but since there wasn't much of any real substance in this film, there's really not much left to say. It's boring, you're gonna want to fast forward through the stock footage, and you'll probably be happy when it's over. But then again, for five bucks, I don't feel like I wasted my money either since I got to have another Buster Crabbe film in my collection. That's gotta be worth somethin' now doesn't it?

B-Movie Central's Rating: Snoozer

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