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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Dog > TV Movie > Action > Adventure > B Movies > CG Animation > Australia > Musical > Adventures Of Bailey: A Night In Cowtown (2013/E1 DVD)/Bomba The Jungle Boy, Volume One (1949 – 1951/Monogram/Warner Archive DVD)/Koala Kid (2012/Fox DVD)/Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963/Paramount/Leg

Adventures Of Bailey: A Night In Cowtown (2013/E1 DVD)/Bomba The Jungle Boy, Volume One (1949 – 1951/Monogram/Warner Archive DVD)/Koala Kid (2012/Fox DVD)/Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963/Paramount/Legend DVD)


Picture: C/C+/C+/C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D/D/C-/C-     Main Programs: D/C+/C/C



PLEASE NOTE: Bomba The Jungle Boy, Volume One is only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



The latest wave of family/child-aimed titles are a mixed bag, but one is a pleasant surprise…



We start with the continuation of a would-be franchise in Adventures Of Bailey: A Night In Cowtown (2013) which is an awful attempt to stick the title dog into a very bad Western scenario that also involves criminals and is set in the modern day like the barley tolerable Christmas telefilm we covered at this link:




As forgettable as that was, this is a total dud, condescending throughout and even worse than usual for the usual yawners Dove.org endorses.  Badly shot, written, directed, acted and edited, I wanted to send this DVD to the dog pound and not the one of a particular former talk show that is due back soon.  Strident, phony and fake, this should have been put out to pasture before it was greenlit.  The unknown actors will likely stay that way too.  There are predictably no extras.



The great Walter Mirisch came up with one of his first commercial successes over at the ultra-low budget Monogram Studios making a family and child-oriented adventure series from the books by Roy Rockwood.  Every studio wanted a moneymaker like MGM had in Tarzan and Mirisch found it with a young wild child named Bomba.  Johnny Sheffield was Boy in the MGM/Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films, but had grown too old to play him.  MGM did not hire him for any spin-offs or follow-ups, so he was cast in the title role and 12 B-movies resulted.  Bomba The Jungle Boy, Volume One (1949 – 1951) has now been issued by Warner Bros. on DVD via their Warner Archive on-line only service and this includes the first 6 films.


With a little influence from his former co-star, Sheffield is very good as the younger jungle guy who also talks to the animals and swings on vines.  I had not seen these films in a very long time, but was surprised, despite some political incorrectness, how well these were made.  They respect the minds of the young audience and are done with much consideration to all viewers.  The original 1949 Bomba The Jungle Boy is a smart launch for the series, one that I can now say was even better than Monogram’s own continuation of the Charlie Chan series when they picked it up from Fox.


The scripts love nature, animals and the jungle.  There is more suspense here than I remembered and the usually unknown actors do very well.  Movie serial icon L. Ford Beebe directed the six films included in this 3-DVD set and keeps the pace going surprisingly well throughout.  Bomba On Panther Island (1949) has the lead fighting ignorant people and a killer version of the title creature, The Lost Volcano (1950) has a group trying to steal a treasure from the jungle at any cost, The Hidden City (1950) offers more exotic adventure (if you are starting to think Indiana Jones, this is that, but more naturalistically done), The Lion Hunters (1951) has Bomba fighting against animals being stolen from his home (“Woody” Strode is in the supporting cast) and Elephant Stampede (1951) is more of the same, but the last two films here get a little darker and Bomba becomes slowly more serious as each film goes on.


All in all, this is the best release here, the films hold up well enough and are better than their many imitators 60+ years later and counting and any romances between Bomba and the guest gals is nicely handled.  As compared to so many larger scale and budget films that try and do the dame thinks as these films, this one sticks to the basics and that is why it holds up so well.  Definitely worth going out of your way for, especially if you have young adults in the house, these films are long overdue for an official DVD release and it is a set that is most welcome.


There are no extras.



The lone CGI animated work here is Kyungho Lee’s Koala Kid (2012) with Rob Schneider of all people voicing the all white-fur title character.  At first, this seemed like it would be a gentle adventure for young children about being different, finding yourself and succeeding in life, but then it takes some early turns and starts to get loud, silly and more aggressive than a child-friendly production should get.  That includes some lite violence and situations that are too intense for younger children.


Set in the outback of Australia, most characters have such accents, but the script is too formulaic for its own good and even when the art is good and some scenes work, that is simply not enough to make this work as thoroughly as it could and should have.  Alan Cumming, Norm MacDonald, Frank Welker and Tim Curry are among the more notable voice actors, but this was a disappointment when all was said and done.


Extras include a simple map game for children and the lame remake of the 1980s #1 worldwide hit “Down Under” by the Australian band Men At Work as a bad musical sequence made worse by isolation.



Finally we have the George Marshall comedy Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963) with Jackie Gleason out of his element (and somewhat bored) as the father who has money and starts buying things to keep his younger daughter and himself happy.  Gleason sings a few times, but not with much energy, including the standard “Call Me Irresponsible” and even a supporting cast that includes Glynis Johns, Murray Hamilton, Elisha Cook, Jr. and Charles Ruggles can save this from being a great-looking dud.


Shot for real Technicolor and with some money definitely on the screen, it was more proof the Musical was on its way out and TV sitcoms had replaced simple film comedies.  I can see why Fred Astaire dropped out.  A trailer is the only extra.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Bailey is as new a shoot as any here, but it is the worst-looking of the four DVDs shot on HD with bad styling choices, some motion blur and just sloppy editing and other work all around.


The 1.33 X 1 black & white transfers on the six Bomba films look really good for their age, even considering the stock footage and budget shot cuts.  Somehow, Warner has fine 35mm prints of these films and they have been kept well stored and cared for, resulting in a solid-looking set.  This is real monochrome film with real silver content.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Koala can be soft, but looks as good, while the same on Papa comes from a good print, but whoever did the DVD transfer dulled the color too much.  I was able to readjust it and got the real dye-transfer three-strip Technicolor image intended by Director of Photography Loyal Griggs, A.S.C., who had shown his expertise in color before on films like Shane, White Christmas, the original We’re No Angels, the Heston Ten Commandments and The Buccaneers.  It was one of the only things that stopped me from falling asleep.


The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Koala has the best set of fine sonic moments, but never has the consistent soundfield it should have, so it falls short.   The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Bailey can be loud and a bit forward, but is recorded adequately otherwise, but is nothing to write home about.  That leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the older feature films sounding as good as they can for their age in this codec.  Papa should have been in stereo and Bomba held up much better than I though it would for its low budgets.  That oddly puts the sound on all four at about even.



To order Bomba The Jungle Boy, Volume One, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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