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The Lost Jungle - SPOILERS!!!

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I pretty much went into this movie blind about what it was. I expected Sci-Fi but I got an adventure movie consisting of spliced-together serial episodes. On the one hand I was disappointed, on the other, I got a history lesson.

I thought I was in for a really interesting flick from a cinemagraphic aspect when the very first scene was shot from the perspective of sitting on top of a circus wagon riding into town for a string of shows. How cool was that? Disappointingly, we never saw that perspective again.

(PMM) Did anyone spot Mickey Rooney as the tallest kid in the very beginning? What cruel fate. From the tallest kid in “Lost Jungle” to the shortest movie star in Hollywood! (/)

This movie was undoubtedly made to take advantage of Clyde Beatty’s superstardom as the World’s Greatest Lion Tamer. What I really liked about the film is the opportunity to see these people of note doing what they were well known for. I have often wished I had a time machine to go back and see history in the making. Beatty and Houdini had similar body types (short but strong), boyish charm, curly hair, and good looks. It’s no wonder that Hollywood created a serial around Beatty, an opportunity they didn’t have with Houdini.

The plot of this movie is simple. Girl meets Beatty, but Beatty is so wrapped up in his animals that he doesn’t see (after 2 years) that girl loves Beatty. Father gives girl an ultimatum. If Beatty doesn’t pop the question in 15 minutes, he’s sailing off to the South Pacific with daughter in tow, without Beatty. Well, Sharkey (boo, hiss), Beatty’s assistant, throwing one of his many monkey wrenches into the plot, sets big bad Tommy the Lion loose on Beatty. While the 15 minutes tick by, Beatty is busy containing the beast, so the blonde gives up and sails south. Although Beatty is sad, he continues on with the circus season.

(PMM) I knew (and justice is sweet) that Sharkey, the evil inflated ego understudy to Clyde Beatty, would get his just due when we first see him in the film. That evil slouch, that Bob Hope nose, that Snidley Whiplash sneer … you just knew he wasn’t long for this world. (/)

Meanwhile, daughter and Captain Daddy are ship wrecked on the island of Kamor where lions, tigers, bears, monkeys and crocs all live in disharmony. Professor Livingston, leader of the expedition, sets out through the jungle in search of help. He accidentally stumbles upon the Lost City of Kamor that contains a fabulous treasure that we never get to see. However, time passes and Livingston never returns. The Captain (Daddy) wants to set out to find him but the crew is mutinous because the wild animals (specifically, Big Sammy the Lion) have been picking them off one-by-one.

Meanwhile, Clyde Beatty’s circus season is over and he wants to set off to find some more animals for his show. A carrier pigeon sends news that his girlfriend’s ship has foundered on an Island and he decides to kill two birds with one stone: Rescue his sweetie and get some animals. For some strange reason he (and Sharkey, boo hiss) takes a dirigible (called, “Victory”) to find her. How Beatty expected to carry lions and tigers and bears (oh, my) back to the States on a dirigible is beyond my imagination. Even landing a dirigible in a jungle is beyond my imagination, but, thanks to Sharkey, we don’t have to worry about that. After a hurricane hits that leaves the dirigible floundering in space, Sharkey lets the air out when land (conveniently, the island of Kamor) is spotted.

Beatty survives the crash, as well as his dim-witted sidekick, and (boo hiss), Sharkey, who managed to grab the last (and only) parachute on the dirigible. While Beatty trudges through the jungle he hears a blonde – er – he hears a scream. It’s his sweetie, cornered by a lion (or was it a tiger?). She runs up a tree, followed quickly by Beatty's coconut-headed sidekick. Beatty grabs a couple of sticks and tames the beast in perhaps the only time he doesn’t exhibit his famous Beatty close-up hypnotic stare-down with the animals. Beatty is escorted back to the fortified camp where the shipwrecked crew is. He helps them capture Big Sammy, the fiercest lion on the Island, so that they might go out and search for Livingston.

Meanwhile, Sharkey (boo hiss) stumbles upon the Lost City of Kamor and the dying Livingston (“Water! Water!”), who tells him of the great treasure (pointing toward a pit full of crocs).

Sharkey (boo hiss) then appears at the encampment. I don’t know why – maybe because he realizes that he needs a weapon to deal with the crocs. Maybe it was the smell of the cook’s dinner. Who knows. Nevertheless, he sneaks into a camp, releases a tiger, and while Beatty tames the tiger (who he stares down into submission), Sharkey (boo hiss) steals a rifle and attempts to tip-toe away but not before Big Sammy the Lion enjoys a nice meal out of him. Fortunately, Sammy is rewarded for his deed by being offered a spot in Beatty’s Greatest Show on Earth, room and three meals a day, no hunting necessary, see the world.

Meanwhile, Beatty finally “gets it” and in the last moment we find him kissing his girl.

--- The End ---

Disappointment #1: We never get to see the lost treasure of Kamor!

Disappointment # 2: Never did get to see Gina Lollobrigida on the trapeze. Wait, that was another circus movie.

(PMM) I need to talk to The Ghost Whisperer to conjure up Clyde Beatty. I want to know how to keep my cats off of the kitchen counters once and for all. (/)

(PMM) Best line of the movie: (Speaking of Sharkey) Remark from a kid, “He couldn’t even train animal crackers!” It’s nice to know Animal Crackers have been around since the 30s! (/)



Belle's comments:

Well, the very first couple of minutes already had me mad in this one. Seeing that one trainer or assistant tormenting that cat was pretty disturbing; not to mention, the whole idea of seeing large, naturally free-roaming animals being put in little cages.

Why is it that in these old movies, the requisite father/daughter pairing looks closer to the grandfather/daughter pairing? If she was supposed to be in her 20's, her father appeared to be in his 60's. Not that that isn't possible, but it would seem that in those days, people would marry and presumably start their families quite young. Maybe people didn't age as well either. That actress had such thinly tweezed eyebrows of the time. I didn't think she and Clyde had much chemistry but that might be the fault of both the morals/conventions of that time (although I did see a Barrymore movie recently from that time that was fairly sexy), and the fact that Beatty wasn't much of an actor, in my opinion. Why she would even hang around to wait for him wasn't obvious, but at least it was kind of forward for those times to have her suggest marriage rather than him.

I don't know why this was considered for a sci-fi movie inclusion , though (it was in a set of Sci-fi DVDs), but I think other movies in the collection are going to be the same. That the island had both lions and tigers was interesting, but when the bears showed up, it was just too funny!

I was expecting there would be a scene where they'd find Livingstone. It just ended a bit abruptly. I guess we assume that they all shared in the treasure and lived happily ever after. It had a few humorous moments and I liked the footage of the leopards and tigers especially. And you have to take into consideration that it was made 73 years ago!

I give this one a 6 out of 10.


Fireball1 comments:

I liked this film because it was an interesting glimpse into the early 1930s and what people found as exciting back then. I guess Clyde Beatty was the 'Siegfried and Roy' of his time. It was fun to see him in action even if he wasn't much of an actor. It seemed like every 10 minutes they managed to find an excuse to have him taming a wild animal. I especially got a kick out of the hypnotic stare he used on that tiger when he was in the pit with it. To bad it didn't last longer. And as others mentioned, that sure was some 'Lost Jungle', wow Lions and Tigers and Bears (Oh my) in the same place !


I have this one in the sci-fi 50 movie set too, don't know how it slipped in there other than the manufacturer didn't have enough sci-fis to fill up a 50 movie pack.


I have this one in the sci-fi 50 movie set too, don't know how it slipped in there other than the manufacturer didn't have enough sci-fis to fill up a 50 movie pack.

That is how I got it as well. Actually, even though it was admittedly not the best film I have ever seen, I rather enjoyed it, as I like movies of this genre (jungle adventure, lost cities, uncharted islands, etc.) and so I was able to overlook the film's many flaws.


I agree it was one of the better movies in the set even if it wasn't sci-fi. Frank Buck and his contemporary Clyde Beatty are rather fascinating personalities of the era, two of the very first "reality stars" I guess who were actually able to parlay their fame into a limited movie stardom.


It is also on Internet Archives.