Thursday, July 19, 2012

Darkest Africa (1936)

this was Republic's first ever serial, and it's a pretty good one.  

it stars Clyde Beatty as himself, and features his animal taming act a lot.  almost too much, as it just looks like animal cruelty to me now.  not to mention the tiger vs lion battle in one chapter was hard to watch.  I actually fast forwarded through it.  he's got a natural presence and is not a bad actor, thank goodness.

it also stars Manuel King as Baru, and he is some animal trainer as well. he runs around in an outfit that unfortunately looks like a diaper.  he also is a decent actor though, which is good since he gets a lot of lines.

 the real stars of the movie are the effects by John T. Coyle and the Lydecker brothers.  the Bat-men are just awesome in execution- it looks like they are gliding along. the miniatures are also excellent, which was the norm for many Republic pictures.  the final chapter has some great effects.

it runs 15 chapters, which seems a little padded.  I guess I should have watched The Lost Jungle first, since this is a sequel.

our heroes head to Joba to rescue Baru's sister.  two villains tag along, since emeralds and diamonds are bountiful there.  Ragna, the high priest, is using Valerie as the lost goddess to retain his power.  lots of daring do is to be had.

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