George Harland (Onslow Stevens) and his daughter Pat (Peggy Ann Garner)
are on a safari through Africa to shoot some rare animals - with their
cameras, because they are star photo reporters. However, along the way,
George just pushes on and on to get more and better shots, ignoring the
increasing danger he puts himself, his daughter and the whole safari, led
by his best friend Andy Barnes (Charles Irwin) into ... and eventually,
his daughter gets lost when a leopard kills her native guard and guide.
Eventually, Pat bumps into Bomba (Johnny Sheffield), a young white man
living in the jungle with the animals, and even though he seems at first
not all that interested into her, he eventually agrees to help her - but
when he approaches the camp of her dad, Harland takes a shot at him and
wounds him. Bomba now refuses to take Pat to her father, but takes her
with him instead to take care of her. Meanwhile, her father leaves no
stone unturned to find her, but by a sudden locust attack, he and his
expedition are driven off into lion and Massai country, and for the Massai
lions are sacred and nobody but them must kill them - yet Harland's black
guide Eli (Smoki Whitfield) is attacked and almost killed by a lion, which
prompts Barnes to shoot the lion after all ... and suddenly, Harland,
Barnes and Eli find themselves on the run from the Massai warriors.
Fortunately though, Bomba, sensing danger, and Pat have in the meantime
taken pursuit of Pat's dad and company, and just in time, Bomba starts a
wildfire to drive the Massai warriors back.
Pat and her father want to take Bomba back to America, but Bomba
outright refuses, wanting to stay with his friends ...
In the same year his Tarzan-partner
Johnny Weissmuller started his second career as Jungle
Jim - a Tarzan
in pants of sorts - Johnny Sheffield, Tarzan's
Boy, started his second career, like Weissmuller in a jungle series, Bomba
the Jungle Boy - a sort of young Tarzan.
Compared to Sheffield's last Tarzan
films at RKO
though or Weissmuller's Jungle
Jim-movies, the first of Sheffield's series, Bomba, the
Jungle Boy, is actually pretty solid: The plot is comparatively
believable (within the confines of the jungle boy-genre), the natives are
actually black (!), the jungle footage is inserted into the film rather
nicely since it is about people shooting just that, jungle footage, the
characters might be limited in number but are well fleshed out, there is
even a bit of character development, and the movie actually shows respect
for the Massai warriors (even if I'm not sure if their culture is
portrayed all that accurately). Of course, the film also has its weak
points, some of the jungle sets are awfully unconvincing, the budget was
very obviously limited, and Johnny Sheffield is not the most charismatic
of actors, but in all, Bomba, the Jungle Boy is a pretty decent
jungle adventure of the B-variety.