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Jungle Jim (1936)



Reviews and Comments

Shed a tear for the lost art of the serial. Jungle Jim is one of those delightful relics from a bygone era when theaters could entice patrons to return each week for a new installment in an action-steeped adventure saga, the kind that would inspire Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Today, many of these serials can be found complete, on DVD. You can, for example, watch all four hours of Jungle Jim in one sitting, but while the story arc spans twelve episodes, you get the full dose of fist fights, spear fights, knife fights, gunfights, jungle cat wrestling, stock footage, conniving, double-crosses, chases, and/or explosions in each episode. The story involves a couple of goodguys, a jungle queen and her faithful servant, and two separate teams of badguys. If that sounds complicated, it isn't: the beginning of each episode has a recap of the story so far, and what the prologue doesn't cover, the characters make up for in dialogue. ("Gee, it sure is good that Jungle Jim appears to be dead, because it was going to turn me over to the government agents that want me for murder back in London.")

Dialogue like this is not a weakness, as it would be in a conventional film, but simply part of the format. It's an intriguing method of storytelling, to tell a story in such a way that you can get something out of it even if you're only around for the middle of it.

At any rate, Jungle Jim is a tale set in the jungle, about a lost heiress, a couple of guys that want to find her so she can claim her inheritance, and a couple of guys that want to find her and make sure she doesn't. It's good fun as long as you take it in the spirit in which it's intended.

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