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Pygmy Island (1950)

(aka: Jungle Jim In Pygmy Island)



Reviews and Comments

Wonders never cease. This Jungle Jim film is almost good. Oh, don't get me wrong: the camp level is still high, and the budget is still low. There is a shot (recycled from earlier in the series) where Jim wrestles a model alligator, and the knife point thuds audibly against it several times. There are Pygmies that talk in broken English even amongst themselves. There is a guy in a fake gorilla suit (the same suit used for real gorillas in The Lost Tribe and men in gorilla suits in Mark of the Gorilla).

And yet, for the first time in this series, I was interested in the story, which involves various goodguys and badguys on a race to find and reap a special type of plant from which strong, fireproof rope can be constructed. There is a lot of action in this film, and after the obligatory alligator wrestle, a lot of it is quite creative. The highlight is a scene on a rope bridge that probably wasn't the real inspiration of the climax of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but it certainly might have been. And although elephant stampedes have been done to death in jungle adventures like this, there is some nice camerawork in the one featured here, including a head-on tracking shot of an elephant charging through some trees. Eventually there is a repetitive overdose of fist fights and an uninspiring climax (in which Pygmies ambush the badguys from plain sight), but the more interesting earlier sequences provide just enough momentum to plow us through to the end.

It's not a great film. It can scarcely even be called a good one, but taken for what it is, Pygmy Island can be fun. I suspect that's all that fans of cheesy jungle adventures are looking for.

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