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Sandok, il Maciste della Giungla

Temple of the White Elephant
Le Temple de l'Éléphant Blanc / Im Tempel des Weissen Elefanten

Italy/France 1964
produced by
Filmes, Capitole Films
directed by Umberto Lenzi
starring Sean Flynn, Marie Versini, Mimmo Palmara, Alessandra Panaro, Arturo Dominici, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Redilly B.Rajapa, Giorgio Cerioni, Andrea Bosic, Giovanni Cianfriglia, Enzo Fiermonte, Jacques Herlin, Dakkar, Seyna Seyn, Fortunato Arena, Sal Borgese, Nello Pazzafini
written by Fulvio Gicca Palli, Umberto Lenzi, music by Georges Garvarentz

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After British officer Reginald (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) and his fiancee Cynthia (Alessandra Panaro), daughter of the vice-king, are kidnapped on an expedition through the Indian jungle by members of the White Elephant-sect, young lieutnant Dick Ramsey (Sean Flynn) decides to track them down on his own (officially the colonial British gouvernment can't do anything out of dilomatic reasons) - and has himself incarcerated by the very British army he serves, only to soon afterwards break free and escape the British with the unexpected help of giant black man Kukur (Dakkar).

Once in the jungle though, Ramsey sees his good luck quickly running out and is almost killed by a boa contrictor ... when he is saved by Sandok (Mimmo Palmara), bodyguard of Indian Princess Dhara (Marie Versini) - and as fate has it, Dhara and Sandok are looking for the White Elephant sect as well that has kidnapped Dhara's brother Baram (Redilly B.Rajapa). Then Sandok captures Kukur, who has been following Ramsey, and upon realizing he's a member of the sect, they try to beat the location of the sect's pagoda out of him - but fail. This is when Ramsey turns traitor, sets Kukur free and tells him he wants to get in touch with his boss, the mysterious masked Bakur. Only a short time later, Kukur arrives with reinforcements who make Dhara and Sandok their captives and lead them and Ramsey, their guest, to the pagoda ...

Of course, Ramsey has not really turned traitor and only pretended to be to learn the secret of the pagoda, and now he tries everything to set Reginald, his hypnotized Cynthia, Dhara, Baram and Sandok free again, in which he succeeds even though he almost gets fed to the leopards.

Ramsey and company's getaway through the jungleturns out to be strenous though, strenous enough for Ramsey to decide to go on alone and leave the others behind in hiding. Looking for help from exactly the soldiers who are out in the jungle to recapture him, Ramsey instead runs into the hands of the Maharajah (Arturo Dominici), officially a friend of the British colonialists - but once Ramsey has given away the location of his friends, the Maharajah turns out to be none other than sect-leader Bakur himself planning to overthrow the Colonialists, and before you know it, Ramsey and company are chained up in the sects dungeons. Ramsey is not one to give up easily though, and before long,h e has set fire to the hole place, which on one hand informs the soldiers after him of his wherabouts, on the other it makes the temple's white elephant mad enough to crash the dungeon's walls and set our heroes free - and in the final battle, the Maharajah and his followers get their just desserts courtesy of the British army.

And need I say it, in the end, Ramsey also gets the girl, Princess Dhara that is ...

 

Temple of the White Elephant is certainly no great film - but compared to other, comparable adventure movies from Italy from that time it's actually a pretty decent film, it had a high enough budget, the action is well enough staged, some of the actors and scenes even look authentically Indian, the plot, while by no means original, is at least interesting enough and well-enough paced, and the camera makes good enough use of the sets' and costumes' bright and primary colours. What the film lacks is a charismatic lead (Sean Flynn is certainly no substitute for his father Errol), but truth to be told, most Italian adventure films from that era do. Plus, the fight between Mimmo Palmara and the boa constrictor is nothing short of pathetic (but unintentionally funny, especially when Mimmo finally throws the dead animal away).

But while the film is no masterpiece, it's still ok enough entertainment for an hour and a half - even if you might not be able to remember it even a day and a half afterwards ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD