'Lost City of the Jungle: Special Edition' [BR]
(Russell Hayden, Keye Luke, Jane Adams, Lionel Atwill, John Miljan, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1946) 2019 / VCI Entertainment - MVD Visual)
Overview: Following the end of WWII, war-monger Sir Eric Hazarias (Lionel Atwill) sets the wheel in motion for WWIII. His search for Meteorium 245, the only practical defense against the atomic bomb, leads him to mythical Pendrang.
Obstructing his sinister plan to rule the world are Rod Stanton (Russell Hayden), United Peace Foundation investigator, Tal Shan (Keye Luke), Pendrang native, and Marjorie Elmore (Jane Adams), daughter of scientist Dr. Elmore (John Eldredge), unwilling assistant to Sir Eric.
Blu-ray Verdict: Since I've now done my homework on this film before actually watching it, I can safely report that this serial was made at a moment in time when at the end of World War II, and before the Cold War really went into deep freeze, it was thought that the United Nations could develop into a world government with a chance for world peace.
The good guys in this film are the United Peace Foundation and while they have no troops they do have agent/operatives like Russell Hayden dedicated to tracking down those who would bring about war for their own profit.
One of those is Lionel Atwill who faked his own death and is now in the remote country of Pendrang somewhere in the Himalayas. Under an alias he's financing archaeologist John Eldredge's expedition to uncover a lost city.
What Atwill is looking for is something called Meteorium, a radioactive substance from which he can construct a defense against the atomic bomb. If he gets and develops this counter weapon any country he does business with will rule the world. I've got to say the man dreams big, but all power to him!
But not if Hayden and the United Peace Foundation have anything to say about it. The Foundation has a man on the ground in Keye Luke in Pendrang's capital of Zalabar.
The capital has an unofficial ruler in Helen Bennett who runs a the gambling action and even controls the local law enforcement. Imagine if the folks in Shangri-La had brought in casino gambling and this is what you have!
What I couldn't figure out is that if Pendrang is as remote as the serial makes it out to be, just where does the fresh money come in which is necessary for casinos to survive?
In truth, that was only one of many things that had me puzzled throughout all 13 chapters of 'Lost City of the Jungle,' but, and thankfully, the good guys win, of course.
I felt sorry for Lionel Atwill though. Dying of cancer and having problems getting roles after the sex party scandal in his home came to light, it's a shame that this was what he had to go out on.
Not as bad as his colleague Errol Flynn whom he supported in 'Captain Blood with Cuban Rebel Girl', but not worthy of his talents either, sadly.
Serials themselves are, thank God, a lost art form which means that come the end of this two-night watching fest, I can honestly say that 'Lost City of the Jungle' is no better, or no worse than others of its ilk that I've seen. So, enjoy, one and all. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Liner Notes / Essay by Patrick McCabe (Film Historian & Home Video Columnist)