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Jungle Hell

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1956; vt Jungle Boy). Medallion Television/Taji Mahal Productions, Inc Produced and directed by Norman A Cerf. Written by Cerf from his story. Cast includes David Bruce, Robert Cabal, Naji, Sabu, Ted Stanhope, K T Stevens and George E Stone. Narrator: Sabu? Makeup by Harry Thomas. 78 minutes. Black and white.

Near Mysore, India, the young nephew of Sabu the Jungle Boy (Sabu) suffers mysterious burns from strange rocks. Sabu has the youngster taken to Dr Paul Morrison (Bruce), who apparently cures radiation burns with salve and bandages. Curious about the "Burning Rock", Morrison requests research help from London expert Dr Angus Caldwell, who instead sends Dr Pamela Ames (Stevens). Her plane crashes in bad weather, leaving her the only survivor; rescued by Sabu, she is taken to Morrison. The story of the rocks has also attracted the attention of Russian agent Mr Trosk (Stone), who thinks they may have Weapon potential. Sabu, Morrison and Ames head for the site to investigate, but en route must contend with witch-doctor Shan-Kar (Naji) and his henchman Kumar (Cabal), along with the usual jungle perils of attacks by large cats, snakes, and so forth. Eventually, after a seemingly endless journey, they arrive at the village. Trosk is killed by a tiger while attempting to gather samples of the rock. Moments later a UFO, which has been popping up from time to time, apparently destroys the radioactive rock with its Rays. A voice-over explains that Ames and Morrison will marry soon, while the United Nations will build a major scientific centre at Mysore: Morrison has discovered that it is the geometric centre of the Earth, or something to that effect. The connection between the UFO and the radioactive rocks is never made clear.

This incoherent film was assembled from episodes of the unsold television series Jungle Boy, which was to have starred Sabu. It makes extensive use of stock footage, especially of elephants; the UFO footage too is almost certainly recycled, but the source film remains unidentified. Reportedly the Sabu scenes were used without his knowledge or consent, and he won a lawsuit to prevent Jungle Hell's release as a feature film. [GSt]


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