Monday, March 21, 2016


I've been working my way through the Bomba the Jungle Boy movies—this one is number 8 out of 12. As with most classic-era series movies, the films tend, after the first few, toward a certain sameness so after my review of the third film I quit writing them up. But I decided to do a brief review of this one for two reasons: 1) the title is misleading; 2) we get some backstory information about Bomba. The film opens with Bomba musing about jungle life; all the animals around him have mothers and fathers, but he knows little about his origins, only that he was raised in the jungle by a naturalist named Cody Casson, now long dead. But among Casson's belongings is a faded diary which notes that Bomba's parents were named "Hastings" and that they lived in a nearby village, so Bomba sets to find out what he can, helped by Linda (Karen Sharpe), the daughter of a government official. Long story short, he finds out that his mother and father were casualties of a village coup, conducted by the current chief of the tribe, and Bomba helps the legitimate heir regain his title, much against the wishes of the chief and his wicked daughter. As I implied above, the title doesn't mean anything; Linda is no more a "jungle girl" than any of the other female leads in the other Bomba films. Sharpe is attractive and shows more fortitude than most of her predecessors, but she never gets into a leopard skin bikini or any other exotic jungle garb. Johnny Sheffield was 21 when he filmed this, though he doesn’t really seem appreciably older than he did in the first Bomba movie three years earlier. But he does look stockier and a little less excited to be darting around the jungle. Indeed, the crocodile fight scene reuses footage from an earlier film, and the shots of Bomba swinging through the jungle are also from earlier movies. With four more movies to go, I suspect I'll find that Bomba's glory days are over, but this one was still enjoyable enough for a Saturday morning diversion. (The colorized still above features Sheffield at far left and Sharpe at far right.) [DVD]

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