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Category:    Home > Reviews > Serial > Adventure > Jungle Jim (VCI DVD)

Jungle Jim


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: C-     Film: B-



Jungle Jim is another surprise serial produced by Universal Pictures, and this VCI DVD set is the one to own.  The entire program has 12 chapters and is based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond, the creative force behind Flash Gordon.  Jungle Jim (Grant Withers) is on a safari into the deepest parts of Africa in order to find a heiress, but what he stumbles across is beyond his wildest dreams.  The heiress (Betty Jane Rhodes) is not missing like originally though, but that has taken to the environment and is now the ruler over a tribe of natives!  Sound a little like Apocalypse Now?


It gets better!  Not only is she a ruler figure, but she is also under the spell of a mysterious figure known as The Cobra (Henry Brandon) who causes her to be a more evil or enemy like figure.  As most can figure out, Jungle Jim finds and rescues her, but their doom lies ahead as they must break free from the depths of the jungle.  Watching this almost seems like a black and white version of some of the short portions of Indiana Jones (any of the three films or that series will do). 


The shortcoming of this serial is simply that the action never picks up like it should.  While the setup of the entire program was established, it never really goes anywhere.  It was almost like they held back so that the next chapter would go somewhere, but they all end up being flat looking back in a broader view of things.


Luckily for fans and the curious minds will find the prints used for this DVD to be in excellent shape delivering a nice 1.33 X 1 transfer of black and white that impresses being as old and dated as the serial is.  Despite some grain, scratches, and softness the overall quality is better than expected.  I like the prints better here than the ones used on Jungle Girl (reviewed on this site).  The contrast seems to work much better with better whites and blacks.  The sound is 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono, which shows the age of the optical mono and while it may not be overly harsh at any moment, it is pretty lackluster in nature. 


Also check out from VCI the Jungle Girl serial, Dick Tracy Serial, and the cartoon collection from the Fleischer Studio’s called Somewhere in Dreamland all of which are reviewed on this site!  The only extras on this disc are a few biographies and some trailers for other serials, mostly the ones just named.



-   Nate Goss


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