Sorrell J. from GILROY, CA Reviewed on 10/25/2010...
This is one of the old serials that would be played before a movie in the theater, hoping people would return the following week to see how it ended. Having said this, the DVD is over three hours, as it is divided into episodes. The vintage feel alone is worth two stars from me.
Regarding the story and acting, this is the last serial that Karloff did before he shot to stardom in Frankenstein. He plays a great sinister Arab sheik in this one (sinister characters were how he made his living after all) and the plot jumps around Africa and India as the galant hero tries to clear his name and help the beautiful damsel in distress. It's a typical plot of the period, although the writer does throw in a few surprises along the way) and the acting isn't bad. Overall, it's a great dramatic serial from the early days of the movie industry.
EARLY MASCOT SOUNDIE!!!
Richard J. Oravitz | 12/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The print used by ALPHA for KING OF THE WILD is quite acceptable, visually clear with decent audio, surprisingly good for a serial of this age (1931, one of Mascot's early talkies). The first chapter is somewhat misframed, heads chopped off while actors speak, but every chapter thereafter is very watchable with Mascot doing an exceptional job handling the transition to sound. Also doing a good transition to sound is main lead Walter Miller, the #1 male silent serial star, who along with Allene Ray, were the serial team of the silents, starring together in over a dozen of them! Miller, as the 1930's rolled on, moved into character and heavy roles in countless Westerns and sound serials. My favorite Miller role from this period was his potrayal of Johnny Mack Brown's compadre Deacon in RUSTLERS OF RED DOG. Miller died in 1940 as a result of staging a rough fight scene in a Gene Autry movie. He was hospitalized and died of a heart attack. He was only 49 yrs. old. Boris Karloff is featured quite prominently in this serial getting a lot of screen time and dialogue. He plays a renegade Arab looking for a diamond field. It's a good sinister role for Karloff and should please his fans. Former silent Western star/heavy Tom Santschi is badguy Harris framing our hero for a murder in India, the serial moving quickly to Africa for the remaining chapters. Santschi died in 1931, not long after appearing in KING OF THE WILD. As for the serial itself, it moves along at a pretty good clip, better than most due to the exotic locales, a neat "mystery killer", and being a fine example of an early sound serial. And as I mentioned before, the ALPHA source material is much better than expected and on 1 disc at a bargain price, it is certainly a bargain indeed!"
Sheik Boris of Karloff
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 07/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Boris Karloff was a busy man in 1931. The 12-chapter serial KING OF THE WILD was his third project that year. There would be 13 more roles for Karloff before 1932 came around, including his next-to-last 1931 performance, as "The Monster" in FRANKENSTEIN.
This early sound-era work has some silent scenes in it.
SYNOPSIS-- A man (Miller) escapes from an African prison and pursues enemies that framed him for a coup in India. In his travels, he meets a sheik (Karloff) who has exculpatory evidence and who also knows where a secret diamond mine is located.
CAST: Walter Miller - Robert Grant Nora Lane - Muriel Armitage Dorothy Christy - Mrs. LaSalle Tom Santschi - Harris Boris Karloff - Mustapha Arthur McLaglen - Bimi, Ape man Carroll Nye - Tom Armitage Victor Potel - Peterson Martha Lalande - Mrs Colby Mischa Auer - Dakka Lafe McKee - Officer
CHAPTERS: 1.)- Man Eaters 2.)- The Tiger of Destiny 3.)- The Avenging Horde 4.)- The Secret of the Volcano 5.)- The Pit of Peril 6.)- The Creeping Doom 7.)- Sealed Lips 8.)- The Jaws of the Jungle 9.)- The Door of Dread 10.) The Leopard's Lair 11.) The Fire of the Gods 12.) Jungle Justice
The 12-chapter serial LOST JUNGLE - Volumes 1 & 2 (from 1934) stars animal trainer and circusman, Clyde Beatty.
KING OF THE WILD TRIVIA--
Originally cast as the leads, Harry Carey and Edwina Booth were still working on another movie when shooting began, so their roles were recast.
Star Walter Miller collapsed on stage and died of a heart attack while filming a Gene Autry movie.
Scripted in part by director Ford Beebe.
Arthur McLaglen (Bimi, Ape Man) was a former pro boxer, just like his more famous brother, Victor.
Shortly after his appearance here, explorer/adventurer Albert De Winton vanished while on an Amazon expedition."
Details of a great old jungle Cliffhanger/Theater Serial.
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 09/15/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have the Sinister Cinema version of this film which is a very nice package on two individually labeled DVDs. I have posted a detailed review of the story and all the chapters and action HERE: King Of The Wild"
Agreement with Past Reviewers
Charlotte L. Slaughter | Louisville, KY USA | 08/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Crabtree and Auken reviews of this product give excellent detailed summaries of this serial and its cast. Suffice it to say, I wholeheartedly agree with their assessments. The sound and visual quality of these discs are much better than I expected. Make some popcorn, gather your children and grandchildren around the TV and enjoy!"