50s Sci-Fi Double Feature:

The Jungle         King Dinosaur

Comments:

Fans of the 'Drive-In' 50's Sci-fi/Horror/Fantasy genre may have fun with these two: 'King Dinosaur: A scant ten million miles away, astronauts travel to another “earth” inhabited by huge animals, reptiles, dinosaurs, and a giant antisocial iguana. The Jungle: A Princess, her advisor, and an American hunter trek deep into the jungles of India seeking the source of elephant raids on native villages. What they find are wholly mammoths!' 

As many are aware I consider this style of film to be my personal major film weakness... the worse they are the more I seemed endeared to them. While these are both acceptable conceptual ideas - the movement to production on the silver screen leaves a lot to be desired. King Dinosaur (Aside from Subconscious Cruelty) is the worst film I have ever seen in my life. Painfully poor acting, horrendous costumes and camera tricks meant to cut cost of special effects are as lame as can be. It's not even funny anymore how bad this is.

Both of these 50's films are no longer capable of disguising audiences by offering more than they can deliver (ex. there are NO dinosaurs in King Dinosaur) but their nostalgic value still has strong appeal. Hey, you no what you are getting yourself into here folks!   

Gary W. Tooze

 

 

Directed by William A. Berke
India / USA 1952

 

  Limping along behind the capsule stage revue titled "Michael Rose's Capers" at the Holiday Theatre is a new film called "The Jungle." It has a pitiable story about a white hunter, an Indian princess and her major-domo who set out to kill off a herd of marauding elephants and find that they are wooly mammoths left over from the ice age. Marie Windsor plays the princess who sports a pith helmet, Cesar Romero is the grim Sikh and Rod Cameron impersonates a white hunter. "The Jungle" is one of those off-the-cuff productions made precisely for the Saturday-afternoon youngster trade which goes in for fantastic action and silly improbabilities. This one has 'em all, from hand grenade-throwing monkeys to innocent old pachyderms with fur coats.

Excerpt from the NY Times review from October 2, 1952 located online HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 1st, 1952

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DVD Review: VCI Video - Region - 0 - NTSC

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Distribution VCI Video - Region - 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:13:48 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.80 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: VCI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• (Shares the disc with King Dinosaur)

• Original theatrical trailers
• Bios
• Scenes censored from the British release
• Sample pages from the original script, with director’s notes
• Marie Windsor Remembers "The Jungle" as told to Tom Weaver
• Trivia
• Photo Gallery: Theatre Lobby Cards
• Behind the Scene Shots

DVD Release Date: October 31st, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

The interlaced sepia-tone VCI Video image it is nothing very remarkable but it doesn't look too bad at times. It has some dirt/marks but is sharper than you might expect. There is some combing (non-progressive) but it is very tube-watchable. Audio is a bit inconsistent and there are no subtitles. Some time and effort was put into the animated menus and the extras (although most are text based and not very good - the attempt is appreciated though). The DVD is actually dual-layered sharing the media with King Dinosaur.

The film was much better than King Dinosaur in every area (acting, sets, believability of story etc.) and I was entertained by the premise. The sepia kind of works and overall it must have had some production dollars spent (but wholly mammoths... in India??!?!). It's typical 50's teen-age Drive-In fodder with a healthy aura of adventure fantasy!  

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Directed by Bert I. Gordon
USA 1955

 

The thing about grade-Z science fiction movies is that the more they age, the more fun they become.

First out of the galactic gate is King Dinosaur (1955), a Jurassic-aged movie that should have been called Welcome to the Neighborhood!. Well, at least, that's what Earth should've said to the newest member of the Solar System, the planet Nova, and just left it at that. It seems that due to some sort of strange gravitational anomaly, Nova has scooted over so close to Earth that Man can now successfully journey to another planet. And indeed, before you can say "Jules Verne," America has already put together a crack team of scientists and doctors and a sturdy rocketship to withstand the weeks and months of interstellar space travel towards the strange, new world - all within the first 15 minutes! Director Bert I. Gordon, responsible for such sci-fi delights as Earth Vs. The Spider (1958), The Magic Sword (1962), and Attack of the Puppet People (1958), was not one to waste time.

Excerpt from Turner Classic Movies located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: June 17th, 1955

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DVD Review: VCI Video - Region - 0 - NTSC

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Distribution VCI Video - Region - 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:17:39 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio (cropped from original 1.33)
Average Bitrate: 5.19 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles  None
Features Release Information:
Studio: VCI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• (on same DVD side as Day the World Ended)

• Original theatrical trailers
• Bios
• Scenes censored from the British release
• Sample pages from the original script, with director’s notes
• Marie Windsor Remembers "The Jungle" as told to Tom Weaver
• Trivia
• Photo Gallery: Theatre Lobby Cards
• Behind the Scene Shots


DVD Release Date:
October 31st, 2006
Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

If I'm going by the sources I have then this DVD image is not in its correct aspect ratio (shouldn't be widescreen) - so appropriately it is as flawed as the film it is representing. In a strange turn of events VCI have 16X9 enhanced this picture but it doesn't improve anything as the appearance is quite muddy at times and chroma was evident. The screen captures give a decent representation.

Personally the most remarkable incongruity about this film is that the 'astronauts' chosen for this mission are the most inept characters I can recall seeing. I even heard that Bert Gordon didn't like this one. If you want bad folks - look no further - you'll have a smile on your face the entire viewing.  

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Distribution VCI Video - Region - 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

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