Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Henry Brandon, Evelyn Brent, Al Bridge, Jack Clifford, Raymond Hatton
Genres: Action & Adventure, Television
Jungle Jim is based on a comic strip by Alex Raymond, the creator of `Flash Gordon,' and produced by Universal in 12 exciting chapters. Jungle Jim (Grant Withers) goes on safari to darkest Africa to find an heiress (Bet... more »
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AN ABSOLUTE MUST FOR ALEX RAYMOND FANS!
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This `Jungle Jim' serial on DVD is way above average, without any doubt. Firstly, because of the outstanding picture quality. While serials like `Flash Gordon' -also based on an Alex Raymond comic strip- can look pale and fussy, `Jungle Jim' looks like it was shot yesterday instead of almost seventy years ago. The second special quality of this serial are the comic book introductions with each episode, made especially for the film by Alex Raymond himself. These introductions alone are worth seeing `Jungle Jim', and make this DVD an absolute must for Raymond fans. You get twelve little comic books for free, corresponding with the movie you are watching. `Jungle Jim' is, together with `Mandrake the Magician' -also released on DVD- and `Terry and the Pirates', one of the strangest serials ever made. It is fascinating to watch after so many years; you can really taste the flavor of life in the thirties. However, like in most serials, the level of cinematic achievement is not extraordinarily high. The actors usually have great looks, while their acting skills are rather limited. The dialogues contain very little humor, and the story could have used more surprising ideas. Performances by Grant Withers, Raymond Hutton and the 17-year old heroin Betty Jane Rhodes, as Joan the Lion Goddess, are all quite acceptable. Less good are Evelyn Brent (`Shanghai Lil' de Vrille) and her brother Henry Brandon (The Cobra). They really try hard to make their roles work, but cannot conceal the somewhat obligatory characters, armed with relatively thin scriptwriting. The same goes for the fighting scenes, which are operated in a modest choreography. The jokes used by Jim and his side-kick Mike are mostly limited to "Here goes nothing!" when they swing on a vine. However, the mass scenes are very well directed and the stunt performances are excellent. This serial contains the famous dive by stunt man Eddie Parker, when he jumps backwards over the falls while doubling for Withers. The same stunt would later cause the death of his Mexican friend Angel Garcia, when diving off a cliff in Acapulco for `Tarzan and the Mermaids' (doubling for Johnny Weismuller, the next Jungle Jim). The action Parker performs in this serial is absolutely breathtaking and cannot be seen in the movies today. The stunts in `Jungle Jim' are far more exciting. What nowadays Tom Cruise would not even try with the aid of computer generated images, Grant Withers had to do for real, sometimes helped by Eddie Parker, in these historic scenes. Almost nothing is faked, and it shows. The same goes for the animal handling. There are no tricks with mirrors or glass walls. When Betty Jane is among the lions, she is really among the lions. Behind the camera was a sniper aiming at the animals with a tranquillizer in case something went wrong, that was all the protection the actors were getting in those days. All you are seeing in these movies that doesn't immediately strike you as trick photography, is actually happening. Also exciting are the stock shots with wild animals. There are plenty of handsome tigers, actually fighting with crocodiles, and stuff like that. Jim's journeys through the jungle are never boring and sometimes even thrilling. In that regard, this serial tops the later movie series `Jungle Jim' (1948-1955). The best Jungle Jim-films of all time are `Jungle Jim' (1948) and `Fury of the Congo' (1951), which were less faithful to the Alex Raymond characters. Kolu -adequately performed in the serial by Al Duvall, who also plays Lothar in `Mandrake the Magician'- is the only remaining character. At least, Rick Vallin was called Kolu in the first film, but changed names in later episodes. In several of the later films, Weismuller was even credited as playing `himself' instead of Jungle Jim. Grant Withers, - who in real life took an overdose of sleeping pills and was found dead in his Hollywood apartment on March 28, 1959 -, lacks the Weismuller charisma, but his performance of Jungle Jim Bradley is definitely more accurate. I rate the serial 4 out of 5. This includes 1 extra star for brilliantly restoring a piece of unique cinema history..."
As good as a serial can be
MA LOURDES I BALOSO | FPO, AP United States | 07/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Agree with reviewer form Holland; except I want to give 5 stars. The reason for 5 stars is that I consider what can be accomplished with "B" film budgeted dollars, then this film reaches the apex of what can be accomplished. Character, setting, and dialogue are all marvelously rendered. Sure, we do not have the Stanislavsky school of acting here, but could even Montgomery Clift or Brando focus on internalizing the character while being asked to dive off cliffs or stand next to live, dangerous lions and tigers? I think not! Therefore, five awesome stars. Jungle Jim is a real entertainer."
Jungle Jim: a nice entertainment !
nussbaum22 | France | 04/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Jungle Jim" is worth the price. The quality of this DVD is quite good for a cliffhanger from 1936. VCI Entertainment did a fine job.
I'm not completely agree with the other viewers. I found this chapterplay a little bit slow paced and sometimes too talky. Grant Withers is a nice Jungle Jim, Raymond Hatton adds some pleasant jokes, but Betty Jane Rhodes isn't very convincing as Joan the Lion Goddess. Henry Brandon is perfect as the Cobra, also Evelyn Brent as Shanghai Lil. Brandon is really an underrated actor. I specially think about his part as the indian chief Scar in the "Searchers" directed by John Ford. I haven't seen him yet in "Drums of Fu Manchu", but I'm sure he must be great. I hope someday there will be a book about all the villains in serials !
So what else can be said about "Jungle Jim" ? It's an honest entertainment, but it could have been better. I found it sometimes a little bit superficial. Perhaps the directors Ford Beebe and Cliff Smith didn't have the same sense of action like William Witney & John English. However if you like jungle adventures, you will enjoy these 12 chapters."
A Fun and Well-done Serial!
Fred E. Ray | Bakersfield, CA | 11/14/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"An above-average serial with plenty of action, outstanding stunt work, and interesting intros to each chapter via vintage cartoon panels in the style of creator Alex Raymond. One disappointing note: having greatly enjoyed Henry Brandon in a star villian turn as Fu Manchu[ASIN:B000087F3F Drums of Fu Manchu], it was sad here to see him underutilized as a secondary (mostly offscreen) baddie. His natural and realistic acting was ahead of its time (thus accounting for his long career) and puts the other, stilted cast members to shame(save the always great Rondo Hatten). Still, this one is well worth a look."