Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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Is India Warm Enough for You?

1952's The Jungle is not an adaptation of Upton Sinclair's 1906 exposé of the American meat packing industry. It is instead the most extravagant B movie I've ever seen, much of it shot on location in India.

The movie stars a face painted Marie Windsor as an Indian princess called Sita who has been left in charge of the country by her father. Cesar Romero plays Rama, an Indian noble and the princess's companion and protector, and Rod Cameron gets top billing as the white guy actually playing a white guy. He's the only survivor of a hunting expedition that ended in disaster after running afoul of an elephant stampede that seems to be terrorising villages over a period of weeks.

Despite some logical improbabilities, the story does actually hang together well enough, and the tension is effective as the three leads conduct an expedition to track down the elephants and Sita and Rama try to decide whether the white guy is a coward who ran from the danger that took everyone else, including Rama's brother.

I'm guessing the gorgeous interiors are sets reused from an A movie, but the copious, actual footage of Indian villages and jungle are fascinating and beautiful. It reminded me a little of the 1950 version of King Solomon's Mines which featured a lot of location footage in Africa and, like The Jungle, the story occasionally lost focus as we lingered on the impressive location shots. The Jungle also features a lot of animal footage, including a somewhat troubling sequence of a tiger fighting a baby bear.

Perhaps the animal footage one is most likely to remember this film for, though, comes at the end. One of the reasons Sita and Rama have so much trouble believing the white guy's story is that he claims the elephants are running from a stampede of woolly mammoths. And, rather to my surprise, the movie actually delivers on the woolly mammoths.

They're clearly elephants wearing shag carpeting and they're really just sort of ambling about rather than stampeding. The expedition seems to be running from a party of Snuffleupagases but, still, it's a good effort.

The movie doesn't have a happy ending, but I won't spoil it for you except to say it's sort of awesomely silly. It's a bit out of left field. I will say this; it involves a monkey.
Tags: b movies, elephants, marie windsor, movies, the jungle, woolly mammoths

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