Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|East of Borneo|
Actors: Rose Hobart, Charles Bickford, Georges Renavent, Lupita Tovar, Noble Johnson
Director: George Melford
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama
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Alright jungle romance from 1931
Steven Hellerstedt | 06/13/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"What's a girl to do if her husband thought she had been seeing another man and escaped, some years ago, to a remote island east of Borneo? What if he was last seen on the volcanic island of Marado, "300 miles inland, through the jungle, entirely too dangerous a journey for a white woman?" If you're Rose Hobart, and the year is 1931, and the b-movie is EAST OF BORNEO, you brave all those dangers to find and reunite with your wandering, and mistaken, husband. If he (Charles Bickford) had taken his nose out of his test tubes long enough to pay her some attention, none of this would have happened. Now he's court physician to the charming (and, we'll learn along with Rose, libidinous) Prince of Marado. As one of them observes, theirs is the perfect combination - the patient is never ill, the physician is never sober. Until Rose arrives they spend most of their time throwing mutual admiration at each other over the chess board.
Then Rose shows up and spoils everything. Of course her 20-minute (screen time) journey is pretty harrowing. During the day her raft, against a full-stage rear projected jungle river that must have played better in 1931 than it does today, passes water buffalo and crocodiles, chattering orangutans and snarling panthers. I kind of doubt all the animals in this film even existed on the same continent, much less in the same jungle, but they didn't have something like the Nature Channel to cloud the issue back then. I'm sure if they had stock footage of penguins and koala bears they would have thrown that in, too. At night the boa constrictors, mosquitoes, and ocelots come calling. For all the clunkiness it shows today the up-the-river sequence isn't terrible. The native drums tell the Prince a beautiful woman approaches, although his doctor, who doesn't know yet it's his estranged wife, dismisses her as a "typical he-woman adventuress."
The best, and worst, scenes occur after Rose reaches Marado. The movie turns into a syrupy soap opera with Rose entreating, Charles repulsing, and the Prince (Georges Revanent) lusting. The big trouble starts when Charles began to weaken and the Prince doesn't stop the lusting. It's tough to saddle an adventure story with a sappy love triangle, but the movie continues to surprise and manages now and then to hold our attention. There are a couple scenes with crocodiles - one where a native has to outswim a big herd of them, another night scene wherein our intrepid pair have to hop across a river over their roiling backs - that are quite well done. The sets verge on the opulent, the acting is more than adequate, and the special effects are - probably - above average for the time. The Alpha print is pretty rough, though. Visually it looks like it was duped off a bad vhs tape, and the sound is layered with an almost constant hiss.