Cast and Credits
Running Time: 68 minutes
Filming Begins: September 21, 1949
Completed: September 30, 1949
Copyright Date: March 15, 1950; Renewed April 4, 1977
Release Date: January 12, 1950
First showing in Canada: June 19, 1950
Jungle Jim dans l'antre des gorilles [Fr]
Diamantenjagd im Urwald [Gr]
L'orma del gorilla [It]
A Marca do gorila [Pg]
La Marca del gorila [Sp]
Jim de la Selva vs Hombres Gorilas [Sp]
Hidden Nazi gold sought by a ruthless gang disguised as gorillas keep Jungle Jim busy in this episode.
Summoned by game warden Frank Bentley, Jim comes across a princess in distress, and rescues her from a gorilla? The two wend their way to the game preserve and arrive to find the warden gravely ill.
Despite Jim's attempts to help him, the warden is killed by one of the gorillas, but not before the warden has alerted Jim to the probable presence of a cache of gold believed to have been buried on the preserve during the war. The gold is really the property of the princess, who has been trying to recover it. Her country desperately needs it to regain its former prosperity.
With the help of Barbara, the warden's niece, and the native rangers, Jim ferrets out the bad guys whose leader is supposed doctor and zoologist Brandt, and despite a number of attempts to rid himself of Jim's interference, Brandt is ultimately knocked from a cliff into a lake where he drowns.
The gold is recovered and the princess returns to her country escorted by some native rangers.
With all those gorilla suits lying about from The Lost Tribe, Katzman just had to come up with another film that could make use of them. So writer Carroll Young concocted a yarn about Nazi loot and bandits posing as gorillas to scare away the locals.
By now, Ray Corrigan, whose film sideline had been portraying the anthropoid uncredited, decided to give up that part of his movie career. The suit made breathing difficult and one could not spend more than five minutes with the head on, before needing to remove it; otherwise, one would pass out. So he sold his suit to film extra and bartender, Steve Calvert, and taught him the ape mannerisms he had perfected over the years. And Calvert began a career playing a gorilla, beginning with Mark of the Gorilla. Later Jungle Jim entries were Pygmy Island (50) and Devil Goddess (55). Other films in which he appeared as his simian alter ego were My Friend Irma Goes West (50), Bride of the Gorilla (51), Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (52), Road to Bali (52), and The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters (54). He also appeared on television.
One of the “gorillas” in the film was movie badman Pierce Lyden. He recalls a practical joke played on him by director William Berke. In a scene in which he was wearing a gorilla suit, he had to be hoisted by a crane into a tree. When the director called lunch, he left Lyden in the tree. Hot and hungry, the actor started to climb down himself and fell. Only the construction of the rubber suit prevented him from being seriously injured.
Weissmuller's weight was always a problem as he got older, and Katzman insisted on his being a certain weight. The day shooting started, Trudy Marshall recalls that Katzman had Weissmuller board a huge scale to check his weight.
A hurried script and even faster shooting account for a number of questionable sequences. In the scene in which Jim is fishing, he catches a fish, then retotals his catch before spearing another one and diving to retrieve it. He has upwards of ten, and one wonders what he was going to do with so many. We assume he had no means of refrigeration. Of course, the answer is, Katzman loved to pad his films with needless footage, for as little money as possible, and he could add the dog, the crow and the chimp, for added high jinks.
When Skipper bites the lion’s tail, you can imagine the laughter and cheers that rang out at a typical Saturday matinee. A similar scene in Fury of the Congo has Tamba strike a lion’s paw with a native hatchet, achieving the same audience response.
And when Katzman used the lion and tiger stock footage, Jim demonstrated his jungle savvy by explaining to a bewildered “professor” Brandt that the tiger is a superior fighter, and would win. Yet, according to animal trainer Louis Roth, he had seen enough fights to conclude that none of the theories is accurate; sometimes a lion would win, sometimes a tiger. But what bothers the knowledgeable patron more than that, is the presence of a wild tiger on African soil.
Playing the warden’s niece, attractive Trudy Marshall fitted in nicely. Born in Brooklyn in 1922, the New York model came to Hollywood in 1942 when signed to a 20th Century-Fox contract. Aside from a role in The Dancing Masters with Laurel and Hardy, her years at Fox were forgettable. She later moved to Columbia, where she appeared with Chester Morris in Boston Blackie and the Law (46) and played a femme fatale in Red Skelton’s The Fuller Brush Man (47). She later married Philip Raffin, a wealthy meat and brokerage executive, with whom she had three daughters, one of them being actress Deborah Raffin. Mother and daughter appeared in Once Is Not Enough (75). When Philip died in 1981, Trudy became active in charitable work, but has maintained a close friendship with a few of her former actress co-workers, such as Anne Gwynne and Mary Anderson.
Newcomer Suzanne Dalbert (1926 - 1971) played the African princess Nyobi, who is in the preserve doing some investigating of her own. One of Life Magazine’s Hollywood starlets of 1947, the French actress’s thesping abilities were minimal, but her looks helped her get a few roles in the late 40s and early 50s. She passed away in 1971 at the all too young age of 45.
Onslow Stevens (1902 - 1977) played lead villain Brandt, out to recover a fortune in gold bullion, a remnant of the Nazi presence in North Africa during World War II.
A product of the Pasadena Community Playhouse, where his entire family was involved in a variety of occupations, Stevens was highly active from the mid-1920s. His first big success was in Broadway’s Stage Door (1936). When he entered films, he began as a leading man, but quickly turned to the role of villain, later taking on character parts. Twice married, he became an alcoholic, and eventually found himself in a nursing home, where he met his death under mysterious circumstances. His last film role was as a psychiatrist in the off-beat thriller The Couch (62), starring Grant Williams. He also made a few appearances on television.
The SPCA was apparently consulted to okay a scene that called for the raven to carry a lighted cigar butt to Johnny to burn through the ropes.
Bronson Canyon may be the mountanous terrain used as a location for the film, aside from the lake at the Arboretum.
There is little room for critical commentary on this film. Many of the stills that were shot imply that the script was constantly shifting. In fact, this film may have evolved without a complete script, since Katzman often began with a title, and worked from there. But Trudy Marshall was not aware of many changes when she appeared for work.
This latest starrer for Johnny Weissmuller in the "Jungle Jim" series seems fashioned for juve trade. Followers of the cartoon series from which it has been fashioned will find it exciting.
Weissmuller, playing Jungle Jim, exposes a phoney medico, Onslow Stevens, who is really head of a gang trying to recoup gold stolen by the Nazis and buried in a game preserve. Stevens has had a couple of his triggermen masquerading as gorillas to scare the natives away from the cache. After fatally shooting Stevens, he turns the rest of the gang over to the authorities and the bullion over to Suzanne Dalbert, who in reality is the queen of the country from which it has been stolen.
Weissmuller is okay as Jungle Jim, Trudy Marshall turns in a neat performance as his aide. Stevens is sufficiently villainous as head of the gang. Others are adequate in lesser roles. Katzman has done well by the budget on production, William Berke sustains suspenseful pace in direction of Carroll Young's compact script, which was sharply edited by Henry Batista. Ira S. Morgan's cameraing is also an asset.
Variety ( a second review)
Latest in Columbia's "Jungle Jim" series just misses as first rate supporting fare. Fact that audience is let in on mystery of the gorilla's mark almost from the beginning, takes away a great portion of interest in film. Still, name of Johnny Weissmuller enacting cartoon strip character will serve as a good incentive for the ticket buyers.
Screenplay is at fault here. Film is almost a comedy at times, since actions of Mr. Jim seem a little stupid as audience knows so well what is going on — and what will happen next. Dialogue for leads and supporting players is trite.
Into the 68 minutes have been crammed fights between Weissmuller and lion; Weissmuller and a tiger [sic]; a lion and tiger fight. Also spliced in are some mighty fine shots of African wild life.
Yarn spins the ancient tale of a search for hidden treasure in Africa. It's modernized this time. though, for loot was put away by the Nazis. A bunch of bad characters are trying to locate the gold, scaring natives and members of nearby government game camp away by masquerading as gorillas. Jungle Jim isn't one to be fooled, so easily, With the help of the niece of the game warden (killed when he got too suspicious) it isn't very long before all the crooks are rounded up.
Leads are played in okay fashion by Johnny Weissmuller, Trudy Marshall, Suzanne Dalbert and Onslow Stevens. Holmes Herbert Intro
Sam Katzman produced, with William Berke credited as director.