Jungle Queen:2K Restored Special Edition [Blu-ray]
(Ruth Roman, Edward Norris, Eddie Quillan, Douglass Dumbrille, Lois Collier, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1945) 2020 / VCI Video / MVD Visual)
Overview: In 1939, Nazi Germany sends a team of agents to incite revolt and seize British Middle Africa as a first step in conquering Africa.
Attempting to place their own sympathizer in charge of the local tribe, they face resistance from Pamela Courtney searching for her Uncle Allen Courtney, a pair of American volunteers and the mysterious Jungle Queen Lothel, who appears out of nowhere in her nightgown to give advice and instructions to the tribe!
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, 'Jungle Queen' has often down the years been hailed as one of the worst serials of all time, but disagree with that over and over.
Watching it once again, this time for the very first time on Blu-ray and produced from a new 2K scan of the 35mm nitrate fine grain studio masters, it tells the tale of how during World War II, the Nazi High Command sent agents into the African jungle to stir up the local Tongghili tribes against the British Allies.
This allowed them to plant Commander Elise Bork, posing as a scientist, and her subordinate, Lang, within the Tambosa Experimental Farm.
Along with the help of Maati, an evil rival tribesman, they search for the legendary Secret Sword, which has mysterious powers.
Two Americans, Bob Elliott (Edward Norris) and Chuck Kelly (Eddie Quillan) arrive to aid the Allies and meet Pamela Courtney (Lois Collier), who is looking for her father, an explorer who mysteriously disappeared.
Bork and Lang feign friendship with the trio in order to find out what they know, before trying several ways to kill them. Their attempts always fail though, due to the well-timed appearances of Lothel (Ruth Roman), the beautiful and mysterious Queen of the Jungle, Tongghili's spiritual leader.
In desperation, the Nazis try to kill Lothel by letting loose wild animals, and setting fire to the jungle. Lothel, however, walks through the flames unharmed and seems to tame even the wildest of beasts.
And in the end, spoiler alert, she helps our heroes end the Nazi terror and return peace to the jungle, before vanishing into a sheet of flame.
OK, sure, it's done on the cheap and is more than slightly racist in many parts of the 1945 script, but its very much of the sort of thing that Hollywood did at the time.
I'm not defending it, just explaining. It's amusing in a way that most serials are, but the trouble seems to be, to me, that it's a bit too juvenile; and the recaps of what happened are deadening when watched in rapid succession, trust me!
Inclusive of all 13 episodes here, funnily enough, material from this serial was re-edited into the feature film 'Jungle Safari' (1956); which I've also seen and fine amusingly lovely too.
In closing, the Jungle Queen of the piece, the mysterious, possibly ghostly, possibly divine figure of Lothel (Ruth Roman) is a stand out actor here, knowing her marks, rarely looking down at the rugged landscape to double check.
Her strange knowledge of the Nazis' plans together with often times helping the good guys means that for 13 episodes you just don't really know how she is, or what her genuine motives are.
Check it all out now via this wondrous new 2K Blu-ray restoration and remaster! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new 2K restoration from original film elements.
Official 'Jungle Queen: 2K Restored Special Edition' Blu-ray Purchase Link