Cast and Credits

Jungle Jim
Dr. Linda Roberts
Denise
Commissioner Kingston
"Doc" Edwards
Fred Lewis
Zulu
Giant Man
Giant Woman
The Old One
Quigley
Commissioner's Aide

Johnny Weissmuller's stunt double
Bill Tannen's stunt double

Johnny Weissmuller
Angela Greene
Jean Willes
Lester Matthews
William Tannen
George Eldredge
Frederic Berest
Clem "Tex" Erickson
Irmgard Helen H. Raschke
William Fawcett
Frank Jacquet
John Hart

Paul Stader
Jack Ingram

Producer
Director
Screenplay
Assistant Director
2nd Assistant Director
Camera
Art Director
Film Editor
Set Decorator
Musical Director
Unit Manager
Sound Engineer

Sam Katzman
Lew Landers
Samuel Newman
Jack Corrick
Leonard Katzman
Fayte Browne, A.S.C.
Paul Palmentola
Henry Batista
Sidney Clifford
Mischa Bakaleinikoff
Herbert Leonard
Josh Westmoreland

Running Time: 65 minutes

Original Title: Jungle Jim and the Missing Link

Completed May 2, 1951
Copyright Date: January 4, 1952; Renewed February 1, 1980
Release Date: March 1952
First showing in Canada: September 22, 1953


La ForÍt de la Terreur [Fr]
Schrei aus dem Dschungel (Gr]
Jim della giungla e gli uomini scimmia [It]
Terra perdida ou na terra dos monstruos {Pg]
Tierra de monstruos [Sp]

Synopsis


It seems everyone wants Jungle Jim to lead him to the Land of the Giant People. Dr Linda Roberts is an anthropologist, Commissioner Kingston is worried about the survival of an elephant herd, and Denise and Doc Edwards merely want to slaughter the elephants for their ivory.

Jim says no to all of them, so Denise gets the Doc to give Jim a dose of truth serum to make him more cooperative, after which she has him framed for the murder of her guardian.

In the midst of all these goings-on, two giant people have been captured. Prehistoric, more animal than man, these creatures escape from the Commissioner, who has the devil of a time pursuing them.


Dr. Roberts, quite by accident, finds Jim a prisoner of the Commissioner, and unaware that he has been charged with murder, helps him to escape, thereby becoming an accessory.

To clear himself of the murder charge, Jim heads for the Land of the Giant People, and on the way is captured by Zulu, a bandit chief in league with Denise. At Denise’s camp, the giant couple appear, and Denise shoots the female. Her enraged mate is only driven off when Jim hurls Zulu’s bolo at him.

Just then the Commissioner appears, and tries to retake Jim, but the latter and Linda escape thanks to Tamba’s tossing a loaded cartridge belt into the campfire. While the Commissioner’s troops are preoccupied by returning non-existent fire, Jim and the good doctor escape.

Later, Jim drugs the Commissioner and Zulu and forces the latter to tell the truth. Zulu tries to escape, but is shot by Kingston. The Commissioner then heads back to arrest Denise and Doc Edwards, and Jim turns back the elephants that have been rounded up by Zulu’s men. Then they encounter Denise and Edwards. While Jim and the latter are fighting it out, Denise forces the doctor up the mountain pass at gunpoint.

Suddenly, the giant man appears and seizes Denise. The Commissioner tries to shoot the creature, but he prefers to fall over a cliff dragging Denise with him.

Dr. Roberts decides that she no longer wants to visit the Land of the Giant People, and will confine her studies to Tamba.

Commentary

Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land is the shortest of the Weissmuller films for Columbia, barely scraping the 65 minute mark. Packing a triple sub-plot revolving around a tribe of giant sub-humans in such a short picture is no mean feat, but “Jungle” Sam Katzman and his team had been knocking out serials for a dozen years, so this was comparative child’s play.

Peggy the chimp made her customary appearance as Tamba, and followed her usual cues successfully. Dynamite, a black panther trained by Mel Koontz, appeared and offered a battle that Katzman would reuse in at least two subsequent Weissmuller films. But the battle between a knife-wielding Weissmuller and a hippo stretches the improbable to new heights. Still, Katzman had some hippo stock footage he wanted to use, and this allowed him some filler for his already brief film. And Katzman also had a lot of stock footage of elephants, some of which had been photographed for Tarzan, the Ape Man (32) and some for the Dorothy Lamour film Beyond the Blue Horizon (42).

Obviously hired for their height, Tex Erickson and Irmgard Raschke played the giant couple, made pre-Cro-Magnon thanks to Columbia’s make-up department, but while the facial effects were good, the rest of the costuming was only adequate. A year later, Clay Campbell would restrict his make-up touches to the face of Max Palmer in creating the man-ape for Killer Ape, and the overall effect was superior.

Angela Greene was cast as the gutsy anthropologist, Dr. Linda Roberts, and Jean Willes effectively portrayed the greedy ivory huntress, Denise.

Greene, born in Ireland in 1921, started out as a top Robert Powers model and a Rheingold girl before coming to pictures in the mid-forties as a Warner Bros. contract player for five years, before freelancing. She lent her talents to roles on both sides of the law. Credibly maternal in The Cosmic Man, she was equally larcenous in Loose in London with the Bowery Boys. She had a role in Elvis Presley's Tickle Me (65), and in Futureworld (75). On television, she played Tess Truehart opposite Ralph Byrd in The Dick Tracy Show (50-51). Her offscreen interests included painting, one of which was apparently used posthumously in a 1982 film Plague Dogs. A regular girlfriend of John F. Kennedy during and following World War II, she told an interviewer that he was a charming and sweet man, and not at all romantically pushy. She died from a stroke in 1978.

Jean Willes was born in Los Angeles in 1923, spent her early childhood in Salt Lake City, Utah, then at ten, she and her family moved to Seattle, Washington. Her film debut was in 1943’s So Proudly We Hail under her maiden name Jean Donahue. Then she signed with Columbia and concentrated on playing in the studio’s westerns and two-reel comedies. Married to a professional wrestler in the late forties, she decided to use her married name. Wherever she appeared, she was noticed, whether in a minor role, such as the femme lieutenant in No Time for Sergeants with Andy Griffith, the switchboard operator in The Fuller Brush Girl (50) (uncredited), or in a major supporting role such as Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land. When television came along, Willes appeared in most of the major series of the 50s and 60s. Liver cancer claimed the life of this talented actress in 1989.

Cast as the greenhorn Commissioner was British import Lester Matthews (1900-1975). The lanky Brit and his wife, actress Anne Grey, came to the U.S. in 1934 after a string of British films beginning in 1931. He was quickly relegated to supporting roles appearing in such films as Werewolf of London (35), Lloyd’s of London (36), The Prince and the Pauper (37) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (38). In the forties, he appeared in war films such as British Intelligence (40), A Yank in the RAF (41), Tonight We Raid Calais (43) and The Story of Dr. Wassell (44). Then he was cast in a variety of roles such as the 1945 serial Jungle Queen, starring Ruth Roman, the campy I Love a Mystery (45) and The Son of Dr. Jekyll (51), with Louis Hayward in the title role. Following this latter film, Katzman hired him to appear in three of the Jungle Jim vehicles beginning with Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land. Then came Savage Mutiny (53), and finally Jungle Man-Eaters (54). His last big screen role was an uncredited one in the Julie Andrews musical Star! (68)

On television his appearances included The Adventures of Fu Man Chu (55-56) in which he played the villainous oriental’s nemesis Sir Nayland-Smith, Richard Diamond, Private Detective (57), Yancey Derringer (58), 77 Sunset Strip (60), The Beverly Hillbillies (62), Bonanza (63), Family Affair (66), Daniel Boone (67) and Adam 12 (70).

Frederic Berest portrayed the villainous Zulu, chief of the Ngamba tribe, the “worst thieves in the jungle.” Berest is another one of those little mysteries. Not much is known about him. After doing some directing for The Fool in Eden Garden at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1949, he first appeared as an actor in Universal’s Flame of Araby (51) then showed up in a few of Columbia’s “B” flics. He appeared as the headhunter chief in the next Jungle Jim film Voodoo Tiger (52), followed by uncredited bits in a couple of costumers like Serpent of the Nile (53), Flame of Calcutta (53) and Salome (53). Finally he had a brief part in the Columbia serial The Lost Planet (53) before leaving the business.

The “Old One,” a native chief supposedly hundreds of years old was ably rendered by character actor William Fawcett (1893-1972), who began his motion picture career in his fifties. He played an evil (well, not really evil) Merlin the Magician in the Columbia serial The Adventures of Sir Galahad (49), then a high priest who could witness events via a “magic” globe in the Buster Crabbe serial King of the Congo (52). In addition to serials, he appeared in numerous westerns, and occasionally a comedy like No Time for Sergeants (57). On television, he had a regular role as ranch hand Pete in the 50s series Fury starring Bobby Diamond and Peter Graves.

For notes on George Eldredge, see the commentary for Fury of the Congo, and for William Tannen, see Pygmy Island.

Scenes from Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land were seen on a television set towards the end of the Columbia film The Comic, starring Dick Van Dyke.

Reviews

Motion Picture Herald


Johnny Weissmuller is back to please the action fans in another of the Jungle Jim series, and, as usual, is up to par as he tangles with the wild beasts and human villains. As in all of these films, the forces of good versus evil are aligned in simple fashion, despite the fact that the story is somewhat on the fantastic side, Also presented is an abundance of the standard jungle excitement with Weissmuller in the title role and his pet chimpanzee as his companion.

Produced by Sam Katzman and directed by Lew Landers, the story has virtue represented on the one side by a group that is trying to save a herd of elephants from extinction, and vice on the other side by unscrupulous men who would destroy the animals in order to profit from the sale of the ivory.

Weissmuller is a jungle scout who knows the location of a pass that is important to both sides, but e will not disclose its whereabouts because the territory is inhabited by a dangerous tribe known as the Giant People.

He is a victim of the intrigue of the evil ivory hunters and is framed for murder. Clearing himself of this false accusation involves no little difficulty, but Weissmuller accomplishes this feat nevertheless, after he battles with the beasts and outwits the bad men. By the time the fadeout comes around, everything turns out just right.

Playing a slight romantic role is Angela Greene, who portrays a young anthropologist. Other parts are taken by Jean Willes, Lester Matthews and William Tannen. Samuel Newman wrote the screenplay.

Variety

Johnny Weissmuller fights his way through another set of implausible adventures to shape this one as an okay "Jungle Jim" entry for the program houses. Based on the King Feature's comic strip of the same title, film has a stock amount of derrin'-do for the kiddie trade and non-discriminating, making it passable in its classification.

Weissmuller, as Jungle Jim, intrepid jungle guide, is sought out by Angela Greene, anthropologist, who wants him to lead her to the land of the giant people. He nixes the deal because of the dangers, and also turns down Lester Matthews, territory commissioner, who wants to go to the same place so a herd of flood-trapped elephants can be led to safety.

However, the Samuel Newman script involves the guide in a set of circumstances that forces the issue and finds him battling, with easy success, a hippopotamus, a black panther, a giant, and heavies Jean Willes and William Tannen, who want to slaughter the elephants for ivory. The stock thrills wrapped up by Lew Landers' direction will please moppet ticket-buyers.

The Sam Katzman production supervision presents the usual budget furbishings against which the players perform adequately. In addition to the human cast members, Tamba, a chimp, is added for comedy relief. Fayte Browne's lensing is standard and jungle values are shown in sepiatones.

Variety (a second review)

Countless wild animals, several people and one script are against Johnny Weissmuller in this latest of Columbia's Jungle Jim series. While a few actionful sequences manage to come across okay, majority of the footage is too implausible to rate interest from any viewer but the sub-teenster.

Screenplay, by Samuel Newman, is based -- per usual -- on the King Features' comic strip hero. Story, a slight one, spots Angela Greene as a femme blonde scientist who arrives in the jungle region to get some data on the mysterious "land of the giant people." She's after Jim, the only person who knows how to reach the site, to act as her guide. He nixes her request, however, knowing how dangerous the tribe can become when disturbed. He also nixes identical requests from commissioner of the territory, who wants to find spot inasmuch as it contains the only pass through which a flood-bound herd of elephants can be driven, and a group of people who turn out to be on the shady side and want only to kill the elephants for their ivory tusks. Before the end's been resolved, Jim has battled a rhinoceros [actually, a hippo], black panther and one of the captive male members from the giant tribe; the femme has had her fill of African life and is about to return home; the villains have been disposed of; and Tamba, the chimpanzee has had a ball throughout the whole thing.

Sam Katzman, in producing, has supplied good physical values but has also okayed a script which, while undoubtedly good fodder for comic strips, is poor for sepiatone screening.

Direction, performances and technical credits are uniformly adequate.