Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jungle Classics of the 1950s

"Land of the Hunter...and the Hunted!"

Jungle thrillers had long been a staple at every Hollywood studio. As far back as 1921 literary classics such as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ "Adventures of Tarzan" and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World" were adapted for the silent screen.  

In 1929 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios decided to produce a grand African adventure epic to top all - Trader Horn. A camera expedition was sent into the depths of Africa to capture the raw primeval excitement of dangerous untamed beasts ravaging on each other. As they touted in the press releases for the film, "Fate and Nature could never again be so kind to another expedition such as that of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer troupe which braved death again and again to bring the world sensations new to civilization. Strange tribes, strange places, the frontier of a primitive world are the background for the drama of 'Trader Horn'".

The actors and crew had suffered through seven months of dysentery and other tropical diseases to film the story based on Alfred Aloysius Horn's best-selling book about his tales as a young hunter in the great vast jungle of the enormous continent. Director W.S Van Dyke went gung-ho on filming and brought back over 200,000 feet of film… most of it stock footage. Trader Horn became a great success when it was released in 1931 and, with all the extra footage on hand, the great powers-that-be at MGM decided to follow it up with other films featuring African locales. Smart fellows. Kongo and Tarzan the Ape Man were two such films. ( The footage would last them through nearly twenty years of jungle flicks ). 

RKO was readying King Kong at this time and other studios were joining in on the congo-bongo bonanza. The 1930s ushered in new film adaptions of Stanley and Livingstone ( starring Spencer Tracey ) and King Solomon's Mines. 

During the 1940s serials capitalized on the wonderful plot flexibility African themed films offered, creating such wild concoctions as Nyoka the Jungle Girl, Tim Tyler’s Luck and The Phantom, as well as the short films of the true-life adventures of "Bring 'Em Back Alive" Frank Buck. Even the Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello fumbled their way into Africa.

It was in the 1950s however that jungle themed films really became box-office gold. The world-wide success of MGM's third adaption of King Solomon's Mines in 1950 started a wave of drum-beating-man-fighting-wildebeest flicks. The story plots were simple, often featuring shapely damsels in distress donning their pith helmets to follow a hired guide into the wild to rescue their husband. Of course, those hot steamy African nights would turn on their mating instincts and, before the rescue party would reach the lonesome hubby, the wife would be in the arms of the great white hunter. 

Every star in Hollywood had to appear in at least one jungle film in their career, but certain actors and actresses were better suited to this setting than others. Rough and rugged Clark Gable, Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger, and John Payne especially excelled in the native environment while prim and proper ladies such as Deborah Kerr, Grace Kelly or Rhonda Fleming provided stark contrast to these hairy muscled men.

In addition to the major feature players, secondary B actors such as Lex Barker, MacDonald Carey, and Jon Hall joined in on the jungle bandwagon and starred in tribal series. Aside from the ever popular Tarzan series, there were 12 films featuring Bomba the Jungle Boy ( starring Johnny Sheffield ) and 16 Jungle Jim films made ( with a post-Tarzan Johnny Weismuller ). 

But let's turn the spotlight back onto the African adventure films of the 1950s. Highlighted below are some of the most memorable jungle movies made during this time ( among them some very forgettable films too ):

King Solomon's Mines ( 1950 )

Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, Richard Carlson, Hugo Haas. 

The film that started them all. Allan Quartermain is hired by Mrs. Curtis to search for her lost husband, who went off on a trek into the deepest, darkest, unchartered territory of Africa in quest of King Solomon's legendary diamond mines. 

The African Queen ( 1951 ) 

Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley. 

A boozy boatman is coerced into taking a prim English missionary lady upstream through crocodile infested rivers out of German Eastern Africa when Germany declares war in 1914. 

The Snows of Kilimanjaro ( 1952 )

Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner, Hildegard Neff. 

Based on the best-selling novel by Ernest Hemingway, Snows tells the story of writer Harry Street who reflects on his life as he lies dying from an infection while on safari in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Bwana Devil ( 1953 )

Robert Stack, Barbara Britton, Nigel Bruce.

The first feature film to be released in 3-D, Bwana Devil was advertised as placing a "lion in your lap, a lover in your arms". The head engineer of a railway company becomes obsessed with tracking down two lions after they attack several of his workers.

"Flaming love found in the savage heart of the jungle!"

Mogambo ( 1953 ) 

Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Donald Sinden. 

A riverboat drops off several passengers at a game hunter’s lodging in Kenya, one of whom is a floozy the other a young anthropologist with a restless wife.

White Witch Doctor ( 1953 )

Robert Mitchum, Susan Hayward, Walter Slezak, Timothy Carey.

A guide takes a pretty nurse upriver to a remote village so she can help bring medicine to the natives... but first she must quench the superstitious beliefs of the natives.

Duel in the Jungle ( 1954 )

Dana Andrews, Jeanne Crain, David Farrar.

An American insurance investigator travels to Rhodesia to investigate the death of a diamond broker who supposedly died while diving. With $1 million dollars at stake, the American suspects an insurance fraud.

Africa Adventure ( 1954 ) 

Robert C. Ruark, Harry Selby, John Sutton. 

World-wide newspaper columnist and novelist Robert C. Ruark takes his viewers on an expedition through the wilds of Africa in this thrilling film/documentary.

Tanganyika ( 1954 ) 

Van Heflin, Howard Duff, Ruth Roman, Jeff Morrow. 

In the early 1900s, a tough settler leads a safari to bring an escaped criminal to justice. Along the way four survivors of Nukumbi raids join his expedition. 

Simba ( 1955 ) 

Dirk Bogarde, Donald Sinden, Virginia McKenna, Basil Sydney. 

A European family of farmers must contend with hostile natives when the Mau-Mau tribe rebels against their white Colonial masters. 

Congo Crossing ( 1956 ) 

George Nader, Virginia Mayo, Peter Lorre, Rex Ingram.

Assorted fugitives from justice gathered in Congotanga find themselves on a hunter’s expedition in the jungle. 

Odango ( 1956 )

MacDonald Carey, Rhonda Fleming, Juma.

A hunter and veterinary who run a hospital for the wild animals find they must hunt down all their patients when a former employee sets them loose in revenge for being fired. 

Safari ( 1956 )

Victor Mature, Janet Leigh, Roland Culver.

A wealthy eccentric and his young fiancée hire a rugged guide to lead them into jungle territory in search of his son's murderer.

Beyond Mombasa ( 1957 )

Cornel Wilde, Donna Reed, Leo Genn, Christopher Lee.

Cornel Wilde travels to Mombasa to claim his share of a copper mine and instead finds his brother supposedly murdered by Leopard tribesmen with no copper mine to claim. 

Tarzan and the Lost Safari ( 1957 )

Gordon Scott, Robert Beatty, Yolande Donlan.

Tarzan rescues the survivors of a plane that has crashed and leads them out of the jungle only to find that a white hunter is after him to put him on exhibition. This film is notable as being the first Tarzan movie to be filmed on location. 

Harry Black and the Tiger ( 1958 )

Stewart Granger, Anthony Steel, Barbara Rush.

A famous hunter is on the quest for a man-eating tiger but lets his best friend, a coward, prove his courage instead. Meanwhile Harry snitches his gal.

Killers of Kilimanjaro ( 1959 ) 

Robert Taylor, Anne Aubrey, Anthony Newley, Gregoire Aslan.

An engineer plans to forge through the wilds of Africa to lay tracks for his railroad company but must first contend with hostile tribes, stampeding elephants and angry crocodiles. Anne Aubrey tags along in quest of her fiancée, ready to brave any beast that comes her way...Taylor not included.

Watusi ( 1959 ) 

George Montgomery, Taina Elg, David Farrar, Rex Ingram. 

Harry Quartermain retraces his father Allen Quartermain’s footsteps in quest of King Solomon’s Mines. 

So to conclude, if you ever feel the urge to stalk prey, swat tsitsi flies, or have your heart go pitter-pat to the beat of tribal drums, instead of booking that flight to Africa, fluff up your pillows and sit back and watch a good jungle film. Even Tarzan endorses this method upon occasion. Ungawa!! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Ticklish Affair ( 1963 )

In 1962, Shirley Jones, fresh from her success as Marian the librarian in the film adaptation of The Music Man, was assigned the leading role in MGM's A Ticklish Affair

After Jones had won an Academy Award for her dramatic performance in "Elmer Gantry"( 1960 ) she thought the studio would finally give her a chance to exercise her dramatic skills to greater use....instead they ushered her into light-hearted comedies.  

"Before and after Gantry, I did a string of comedies including The Courtship of Eddies Father ( 1963 ) with Glenn Ford, A Ticklish Affair with Gig Young, and my favorite, Bedtime Story ( 1964 ) with David Niven and Marlon Brando. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of doing comedy. The studios usually referred to them as 'sophisticated comedies'. Too often they were neither. "

A Ticklish Affair tells the story of a Navy widow with three boys, a lovely home overlooking San Diego harbor, and a heart shut out to romance. Amy Martin ( Shirley Jones ) grew up as a Navy brat living out of a suitcase as her father got transferred from place to place. After her husband passes away she decides she wants stability for her children and vows to never get involved with another Navy man again. One afternoon her boys are playing a game and send an SOS signal using a signal lamp, it is spotted by a docked Navy vessel which sends them hurrying out to her house to investigate. The Commander ( Gig Young ) is instantly smitten with the comely mother - with shapely legs - and decides to become a frequent guest. No objection from Amy...until she finds herself falling in love again. 

A Ticklish Affair was released fifty years ago on August 18, 1963. Critics did not take to the film favorably, panning it's overly sentimental story, but audience members who watched it upon its release ( or even in more recent late-night television airings ) remember the film vividly. Quite often it is those light-hearted comedies that are the most fondly remembered....

Jean Simmons was originally slated to star in A Ticklish Affair, but due to contractual obligations Shirley Jones was reassigned the role. Doris Day - or even Debbie Reynolds - could have easily played her part too, and in some aspects a Doris Day is what the film needed. Although Jones does a splendid job, the film is thin on plot and really needed a strong leading persona to help carry it successfully. 

The film hoped to make up for it with a stellar cast. Carolyn Jones and Red Buttons ( as sister-in-law and brother ) provided steady support for Mrs. Martin, with Edgar Buchanan in a minor role as her father-in-law. Other familiar faces include Edward Platt ( Get Smart ), as Young's commanding officer, Eddie Applegate ( The Patty Duke Show ) as a Navy seabee, and Billy Mumy ( Lost in Space ), Bryan Russell ( Bye Bye Birdie ) and Peter Robbins ( Charlie Brown ) as the three little cadets. 

" More fun than marriage! "

So hailed the tagline. That would depend on one's marriage though. 

The major draw to the film is its colorful San Diego locations, beautiful house set ( who wouldn't want to live in a rustic colonial with ocean-view? ) and its climax : the Martin boys continually receive super fun gifts from their Uncle Cy ( Buttons ), the latest being a bundle of surplus weather balloons. Cy tells the children that they can pretend they are "moon walking" by tying themselves to the balloons and letting them carry them off the ground. Grover Martin, the youngest of the boys, cuts himself loose from the rope tethering himself to the weather balloons and slowly drifts over the city and out towards the sea in an attempt to get the Commander to rescue him. Some children will do anything for attention....

A Ticklish Affair meanders along at a leisurely pace and although it doesn't quite tickle its audience enough as it could have, it does have a cheerful tone about it and quite frankly that more than makes up for its shortcomings.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Upcoming Blogathon! The Great Imaginary Film Blogathon is A-Comin'!

Check out the UPDATE page for current info. 

Hear ye, Hear ye! The Great Imaginary Film Blogathon is coming to Silver Scenes!  

As the hosts of Silver Scenes, Diana and I ( Constance ), thought it might be a good idea to start a blogathon. Why? Because we'd like to get to know our readers - stray wanderers included. And what better way then to get acquainted through the sharing of ideas?

This summer the classic movie blogging-sphere has been filled with alot of great blogathons. Movies Silently hosted the Funny Ladies Blogathon in June, The Girl with the White Parasol hosted the fantastic Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon in July; August beckoned in the rollicking good William Castle Blogathon from The Last Drive-In, and currently Sittin' on a Backyard Fence is hosting their second annual TCM Summer Under the Stars event. 

But when we thought about coming up with our own blogathon we wanted to be just a little bit different. Instead of having our readers write about movies that have been made, we thought it might be fun to have you write about movies that were never made....but should have been. 

Have you ever read a great book and wished it had been turned into a film? 

Have you ever seen a new film and wished a version of it had been made in the 1930s, or 1940s, or 1950s?

Have you ever seen an oldie but goodie and wished it had been remade, with just a little more "punch" added to it? 

Have you ever seen a film, loved it to death, but wished the main actor/actress had been someone different? 

Have you ever wanted to play producer and have selection of the best stories, all the choice actors in Hollywood and William Wyler as director? 

Heavens to Betsy! What silly questions...of course you've thought of this before. EVERYONE has exited a movie theatre thinking of all the changes they would have made to the film they just saw. Or read a book and pictured Basil Rathbone in the lead. Or wondered "what was Edward Bernds thinking when he made Queen of Outer Space? I could make a better film than that!" ( and you probably can )

Well, this is what the Great Imaginary Film Blogathon is all about. It's a wishful thinking event. A time to brew creative movie-making ideas and share them with others. 

Here's your chance to gush about all those wonderful movies you wish were made but never were.

The possibilities are endless! Anything you can conceive you can share!

It certainly will be Mr. Wonka. 

We can't wait to get started and see what scathingly brilliant ideas everyone can think of. 

Before we start to concoct movie history though let's talk a bit about some of the rules :

Rule Number One -  If you wish to write about a film that was never made, please include the following..

- title
- year of production 
- at least four cast members
- the studio that you hoped would have released the film
- whether the film is in color or black/white
- basic plot

Imaginary TV Movies are welcome as well. 

Rule Number Two - If you wish to create a photo gallery of film ideas please attach a title and small plot summary with your pics. A tv guide sized nugget review will do nicely. 

Rule Number Three - If you wish to create a gif...good luck! We have no idea how you would go about doing that. 

Rule Number Four -  All films created should be dated pre-1975. Afterall, this is a classic film site. 

Rule Number Five -  There are no rules. Disregard all of the above if you want to do something differently. 

The Great Film Blogathon will run from October 1-3, 2013. Exact dates for posting will not be assigned, just so long as you post within that time frame you're good to go. We will post a master list of participants and their topics on the first day of the blogathon. That means you got a whole month to get your creative juices flowing! 

Any questions? 

Then let the fun begin! 

ALL bloggers are welcome. If you want to join just post your blog name and the url address to your blogsite in the comment box below. If you don't want to join, then please help spread the word about the event by placing a banner on your site. 


And for those who'd like a Disney themed one ( because we love Disney stuff ): 

If you are still confused on what the heck this is all about, then stayed tuned! Each week prior to the event we will be posting our own deviously clever movie ideas and those should help you catch our drift. 

Contact us at silverbankspictures ( at ) gmail ( dot ) com if you have any questions or comments. 

We hope you'll join us! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Ferocious Kitty

 Poor Lou, wait till he sees the lions and gorillas he will be up against in the jungle when he and Abbott take a trek to the dark continent in "Africa Screams"! ( 1949 ).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Oh boy...if we don't have enough features already ( we don't ), here we go starting another one. Everybody has played Name that Movie sometime/someplace or another, but we don't care for simpleton games for simpleton folks. So we got our own little variation of the game. Each month, or every two weeks - depending on how lazy we are - we'll post a screenshot from a classic flick and YOU have to name the film. What's different about that? Get a load of our screenshots! 

This won't be no easy game for the casual movie fan, but each shot should give you enough clues to narrow the field down to a certain year/decade/genre/actor if you're clever enough. And to entice you to throw out your guess - no matter how wild it is - we're giving away a FREE ORIGINAL MOVIE STILL from Silverbanks Pictures to anyone who can name that film!

Here's the details to the game :

1. Name that Film begins the moment the post is posted. If you make a guess before we post the screenshot you don't win anything. You'll just be a fortune teller.

2. Only one comment per comment box please. If we tell you you are wrong and you want to guess again, go right ahead! Just don't string your guesses all together in one box. Cheater, cheater, cheater.

3. All films are either UK or US releases from pre-1975. If a television movie and foreign film screenshot is being used we will state so. We're not that sneaky.

4. The game will remain open until a winner is announced. If no winner is announced, the game is still going.

5. There is only one winner for each screenshot. First one to correctly guess wins. What is the prize? Any original movie still in the Silverbanks Pictures eBay store - up to a $6 value. Yeah, we're generous people. ( Actually, 90% of the inventory is under $6, so you don't have to feel too badly ). We'll cover shipping in the continental U.S. If you decide to purchase more than one still ( bully for you! ) shipping is still free...we'll just deduct $6 from your purchase total.

6. If you are announced the winner you have up to three weeks to contact us ( Contact Us is located on the menu below our blog's header ) to receive instructions on how to claim your prize.

Are you thoroughly confused yet? 

Then let's begin with the first Impossibly Difficult screenshot : 

Good luck guessing! 

Update Aug. 21, 2013 : 


The winner is Caftan Woman who correctly guessed "Flame Over India" aka "Northwest Frontier" ( 1959 ) starring Kenneth More, Lauren Bacall, Herbert Lom, Wilfred Hyde White, "Gupta", and the REAL star....Victoria, the Empress of India! She was the original Little-Engine-That-Could. In this scene the little engine and her stalwart crew had just entered the city after completing a successful escape mission.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Captain Horatio Hornblower, R.N ( 1951 )

"War breeds strange allies" 

Captain Hornblower pointedly remarks this after embarking with his crew on a secret mission to Central America to supply armaments to "El Supremo" a fanatical rebel leader who plans on organizing an attack against France's Spanish allies. The year is 1807 and while Napoleon's forces were attacking in Europe a diversion such as this would be large enough to make France send some military support to North American defense in support of their Spanish ally. "El Supremo" is hardly the kind of man one would want to make terms with, as Hornblower soon finds out. 

The first three novels in C.S Forester's Hornblower saga ( Beat to Quarters, Ship of the Line, Flying Colors ) were purchased by Warner Brothers in 1938 for material for their swashbuckling star, Errol Flynn. 

C.S. Forester had made a name for himself during the 1930s as an author of novels with military/naval themes ( Brown on Resolution, The African Queen, Death to the French ). He was called to Hollywood to write up an adventure story, working under Arthur Hornblow and Niven Busch. Forester came up with a tale about a pirate in seventeenth century England. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers was in the process of making Captain Blood with Errol Flynn and it used the same key historical elements he was hoping to use. Instead of starting on another project he bounded on a freighter for home and met a photographer, Barbara Sutro, onboard. During the voyage he had his new novel worked out with its lead characters...Hornblower, Bush and Lady Barbara!

The Hornblower series became a success and Hal Wallis considered making the film with Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh as the stars but difficulties within Warner Brothers studio hampered the production and it was shelved for many years. 

Then in 1948, the project was once again brought up but quickly quenched when studio heads saw the disappointing box-office receipts for The Adventures of Don Juan, starring Errol Flynn. Clearly the public's taste in gung-ho adventures were changing they surmised...or else their boyish hero Errol Flynn was starting to show his age. Warner Brothers was already in the process of grooming a younger actor to replace Flynn as their adventure star - Burt Lancaster - but the role of the grunting British sea-captain Hornblower did not seem suitable for Lancaster. Hence, they chose Gregory Peck on loan-out from David Selznick studios to lead. ( Stewart Granger and Richard Todd could have been other possibilities but who knows what contractual arrangements they were tied to at the time. ) 

One-eyed Raoul Walsh, a master of filming the adventure genre, was called in to direct and filming commenced in the summer of 1950. Most of the interior shots were filmed in the United Kingdom, while the outdoor locales were filmed on location in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, on board the HMS Victory, and on the set of the former Hispaniola built a year earlier for Walt Disney's production of Treasure Island. She got a fresh paint job and a new name, the HMS Lydia, and was back in action. But as Errol Flynn would have told the production crew, "It's bad luck to rename a ship".

Although Peck gave a fine performance as Hornblower, he lacked the charisma that would have inspired his men to lay down their lives for him. The bosom-buddy comradery was missing between Hornblower, Lt. Bush ( Robert Beatty ) and seaman Quist ( James Robertson Justice ) that would endeared them to the audience more. This is where the Errol Flynn/Alan Hale teamings of yor were sorely missed. 

However, in spite of this, Captain Hornblower manages to pack an adequate punch, full of adventure, beautiful sets, and colorful characters.  It remains a top swashbuckler for many Brit and Yankee buccaneers and features some spectacular naval battle sequences including one particularly rousing broadside exchange between the 36-gun HMS Lydia and a 60-gun command ship led by "El Supremo" in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Captain Horatio Hornblower was released in the UK on April 10, 1951 and in the US five months later. It received good reviews from critics both abroad and in the states and became one of the top ten box-office hits in the UK that year. 

This post is our contribution to the wonderful  2013 TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon, hosted by Sittin on a Backyard Fence and Scribe Hard on Film. For a complete schedule to the month-long event, click here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hollywood Home Tour - John Boles

"Well, the Metzinger gals were unable to find me a map of Los Angeles so I thought let's just chuck the whole map idea... I don't know this area very well but I do know a movie star's home when I see one! And speaking of Hollywood homes, here I see John Boles estate coming up on the right.

2265 Canyon Drive, Los Angeles

"My! is that a beautiful home. The landscaping is just magnificent. John Boles always was one to have an eye for beauty. He married the beautiful Marielite Dobbs shortly after graduating from high school and, unlike most Hollywood marriages, they stayed a couple till his death in 1969. 

"Boles started his film career back in the days of the silents but when the talkies arrived he made the switch and that's when his career really took off. He was one of the most popular leading men of the 1930s. Musicals were his forte, and RKO and Warner Brothers used his good looks and fine singing talent to advantage in such lavish musicals as  The Desert Song, Rio Rita, and Song of the West. In addition to musicals, he excelled at dramatic films such as The Age of Innocence ( 1932 ), Craig's Wife ( 1936 ) and Stella Dallas ( 1937 ). He also starred in several Shirley Temple films. His most popular role today remains his portrayal of Victor Moritz in Frankenstein ( 1931 ). 
John Boles and his family lived in this spacious Spanish stucco manor during the early 1930s. Does anyone have any questions?"

"Yes Al...where did Boles move to later on?"

"In the 1940s he purchased a home out in Beverly Hills on South Roxbury Drive and then they moved to North Oakhurst Drive after that. Any other questions?....Okay, off we go to see what other Hollywood homes we can find!"

This post is apart of the Silver Scenes Hollywood Home Tour, hosted by Al the bus driver. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nugget Reviews - 4

It's Nugget time again! We have some golden nuggets thrown in this batch as well as an adventure/jungle theme going here ( to tie in with our Jungle Classics post coming soon ). Enjoy!

Sahara ( 1943 ) 24k

A U.S tank commander and his group of  misfit desert hitchhikers band together at a deserted old water-hole to fight off a battalion of German soldiers in Libya. Humphrey Bogart, Bruce Bennett, Dan Duryea, J. Carrol Naish. Columbia Pictures. Directed by Zoltan Korda. 

Sahara is one of the best war time films depicting the grueling conditions of the North African campaigns of WWII. It also boasts excellent cinematography and one of Bogart's finest performances as Sergeant Joe Gunn. Whenever you see a film with Philip MacDonald listed on the writing credits you know you are in for a gem and this is a golden nugget for sure! 


Father Goose ( 1964 ) 18k

A boozie boat bum gets recruited by the British Navy to help with plane-spotting on a secluded Pacific island. While there he - reluctantly - rescues a group of schoolgirls along with their attractive teacher. Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard, a group of little girls. Universal. Directed by Ralph Nelson.

This is one entertaining film! No matter how many times you see it, it will always put a smile on your face. Cary Grant is excellent as "Mother Goose", the rum-hunting recluse who tries his best to stay out of the war, as is Leslie Caron and Trevor Howard. A fun and adventurous comedy.


Congo Maisie ( 1940 ) 14k

Maisie gets herself into alot of jams but this time she finds herself stranded in an African village with a sarcastic doctor and a group of hostile natives being rattled up by a wild witch-doctor. A Maisie-fied interpretation of the old Red Dust plot...with MGM's Clark Gable war-time replacement - John Carroll. Ann Sothern, Sheppard Strudwick, Rita Johnson. MGM. Directed by H.C Potter. 

Maisie is always a darling to watch. This time she slinks and smartalecks her way through the jungle in robust fashion, dispensing little gems of wisdom to the comely wife of the resident hospital on staying clear of "wanderers" in life and falling in love in the process herself. Her showgirl/magic performance used to drive away the witch-doctor is the highlight of the film. 


The Spiral Road ( 1962 ) Elctr.

An ambitious doctor heads to the jungles of the East Indies to study under a great tribal doctor, but along the way he finds that there is more to life than worldly ambitions. Rock Hudson, Burl Ives, Gena Rowlands, Geoffrey Keen. Universal. Directed by Robert Mulligan.

This film is a doozy! Rock Hudson as an atheist Norwegian I can buy, but his conversion to "seeing the light" at the end is another matter entirely! Hudson was woefully miscast. Although seeing him grope around the island as a bushy-bearded "wild man" and Burl Ives excellent performance were worth sitting through the 2 1/2 hour film. I guess....


An Elephant Called Slowly ( 1969 ) 14k

The Travers are off to Africa to house-sit for a friend and find a group of orphan elephants who have "adopted" them as their parents during their stay. Bill Travers, Virginia McKenna, George Adamson. Morningstar Prod. Directed by James Hill.

After the success of "Born Free", Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers teamed up again for another African adventure, this time with elephants ( in case you didn't read the title ). Unlike "Born Free" however, it lacked a great John Barry score, and the film dragged in spots. Still, if you want something to watch with your cats on a rainy day it's worth a peek-see. The film also features a great beat-up Land Rover named Mister Mopagee.