Jungle Jim in Pygmy Island
Sam Katzman for Columbia
directed by William Berke
starring Johnny Weissmuller, Ann Savage, David Bruce, Steven Geray, William Tannen, Tristram Coffin, Billy Curtis, Billy Barty, Selmer Jackson, Tommy Farrell, Pierce Lyden, Angelo Rossitto, Larry Steers, Rusty Wescoatt, Harry Wilson
screeenplay by Carroll Young, based on a comic strip by Alex Raymond, musical direction by Mischa Bakaleinikoff
Jungle Jim, Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller)
Jungle Jim number 5:
Somewhere in darkest Africa, a tribe of white (!) pygmies has
discovered a fiber that can be used to produce inflammable lassoes. But
since anything that can be used to produce inflammable lassoes can be used
to produce a whole range of other things too that can be used as war
material, and since the Cold War is on, the American gouvernment decides
to send Captain Ann R.Kingsley (Ann Savage) to find the pygmies - who have
the tendency to remain well hidden in the deepest jungle but speak a
pretty good English - and get the secret of their fiber from them ... and
the pygmies, it seems really like Captain Ann, and instinctively realize
the NATO is the right side to be on in the Cold War. However, then the
pygmies are attacked by an evil tribe of thought extinct Witchdoctors ...
Eventually, the Pentagon sends Major Bolton on a mission to rescue
Captain Ann and if possible get the fiber back, and Bolton soon enough
teams up with Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller), who knows his ways in the
jungle, and who soon finds out that the evil Witchdoctors are in fact
white men (probably Commies) who have only disguised as Witchdoctors to
give the pygmies a mighty good scare and make them reveal their secret.
And he finds out the brains of the organisation is a seemingly harmless
trader, Leon Marco (Steven Geray). Ultimately, Jim even finds Captain Ann
... but to no avail, he and Captain Ann are captured by Marco and his men,
who have by now also found out the secret of the fiber, and Major Bolton
and his men are miles behind - and thus unable to save Jim and Ann. But
the Commies haven't taken into account the pygmies, who might be short in
height but high in cunning and fighting prowess, and soon enough, the
Commies are overcome, Captain Ann gets the secret of the fiber, and the
NATO is saved from those evil Commies.
Jim gets to fight a crocodile and a gorilla in this one, plus it is the
first film in which he has no longer his crow and doggie, but instead a
more customary chimp who "has instincts like a bloodhound" ...
You can either hate this film (like most of the Jungle Jim
series) for its silliness or love it for its high camp value. I have to
admit, it's not quite as good (or bad) as my synopsis makes it sound, but
it definitely has potential.