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Bomba and the Jungle Girl

USA 1952
produced by
Walter Mirisch for Monogram
directed by Ford L. Beebe
starring Johnny Sheffield, Karen Sharpe, Walter Sande, Suzette Harbin, Martin Wilkins, Morris Buchanan, Leonard Mudie, Don Blackman, Amanda Randolph, Bruce Carruthers, Roy Glenn, Jack Clisby, Bill Walker
written by Ford L. Beebe, based on characters by Roy Rockwood, music by Raoul Kraushaar

Bomba the Jungle Boy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Bomba the Jungle Boy film 8:

After years of living alone in the jungle, Bomba (Johnny Sheffield) decides he has to find out who his parents were and wht happened to them. To this end, he heads for chief Gamboso's (Martin Wilkins) village, where he has tracked his former nanny Linasi (Amanda Randolph) down to - and en route he saves the life of Linda (Karen Sharpe), daughter of gouvenment inspector Ward (Walter Sande), who is presently inspecting Gamboso's village, and he is very content about the progress the village is making.

However, when Bomba enters the village, he is met with distrust, especially from chief Gamboso and his daughter Baru (Suzette Harbin), and he is told his former nanny is dead. But when he leaves, Kokoli (Morris Buchanan) follows him into the jungle and tells him that Linasi actually does live outside the village and she does know the secret of his origin and of his parents' whereabouts, because she was the wife of the rightful chief of the tribe and he, Kokoli, is her son.

Bomba meets Linasi, and she tells him that her parents were killed because they knew that Gamboso usurped the rule over the village, and that they are now buried in a cave with Bomba's father's diary proving all of Gamboso's wrongs ... but before she can tell him the exact location of the cave, she is killed by a poisoned dart, and Bomba is promptly accused of the murder, and the natives have him arrested - however, Linda, whose life he saved, forces the natives to release him at gunpoint and furthermore promises Bomba to find the cave in which his father is buried - a promise she had rather not made since Gamboso and Baru can't let the truth be known - so once inspector Ward and Linda have left the village in search for the cave, Gamboso and Baru and their men follow them, and Ward and Linda have only Bomba and Kokoli to defend them.

Ultimately though, an over-eager Baru almost falls prey to her own evil deeds when she sets the jungle on fire to burn her adversaries alive but gets caught beneath a falling tree, and it's up to Bomba to save her.

Eventually, everybody finds refuge from the fire in a cave ... that just happens to be the last resting place of Bomba's parents, and here Bomba finds the diary that proves that Gamboso has indeed usurped the throne. Faced with the diary, Baru commits suicide by leaving the cave and running into the fire, while her father is handed over to the authorities and Kokoli is made the new - and rightful - leader of the tribe.

 

Though being already the eighth installment in the series, Bomba and the Jungle Girl is the best film so far: It's more serious and sober in tone than that of previous Bomba-flicks, it features plenty of atmosphere (visibly on a budget of course, but atmosphere still), for a change Bomba is not just a do-gooder but has real personal motivations for what he does, and the story is actually quite intelligent and lacks the over-the-topness of many contemporary jungle films.

As far as cheap jungle fare goes, this one's pretty good.

 

One thing though, despite the title, there is no actual jungle girl in the movie, there are two female lead characters - one good (Linda) one evil (Baru) - but neither of them fits the description to the t and it's never made clear which one the title could have meant. Seems to methe title department and the script department were just not communicating too well at this one.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD