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"Jungle Captive" (1945)


LiamCasey

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Tonight on METv's Svengoolie is 1945's Jungle Captive:

 


 

Considering how "enthused" I was with this movie's predecessor, Jungle Woman, I am sorely tempted to skip Jungle Captive tonight (And definitely would if game 1 between the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks was starting later in the evening.). However, I see that the casting of this movie includes one Phil Brown. And who, you might ask, is Phil Brown? Well, Mr. Brown just happens to be the actor who portrayed Uncle Owen to Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. So, at least, it might be interesting to see what this gentleman was doing 32 years earlier.

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Sad to say, The Jungle Captive (as the title was shown in the opening credits) lived down to my expectations. The plot was meh. The characters were meh. All in all, a shining example of the waning days of Universal's classic horror movie period.

 

Otto Kruger did absolutely nothing for me as the poor man's Henry Frankenstein in this one. But, then again, he did absolutely nothing for me as Jeffrey Garth in Dracula's Daughter either. So I guess there is a certain level of consistency there. And did anyone notice that his character was referred to as "Mr. Stendahl" rather than as "Dr. Stendahl" by the others in this movie? I guess even the screenwriter had no respect for his character.

 

And Amelita Ward and Phil Brown could have easily been replaced by any other pair of B-movie lovers. Where was Evelyn Ankers when we needed her to raise the level of this one?

 

And Vicky Lane wasn't given the opportunity to do anything except look pretty (at least when she wasn't looking hirsute).

 

At least it was nice to see Jerome Cowan as Detective Harrigan (An Irish cop? Who would have guessed!). Most recognizable (to me at least) for his roles as Miles Archer in The Maltese Falcon and as the district attorney in Miracle on 34th Street.

 

And then there was Rondo Hatton. Now, I don't begrudge anyone from doing what they can to earn an honest paycheck. But it is difficult to watch this movie without thinking of how insensitive Universal had to be to use his deformity in order to sell their horror movies.

 

Oh well. At least the Bulls won.

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