EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|DRUMS OF AFRICA (director: James B. Clark; screenwriters: Robin Estridge/story by Arthur Hoerl; cinematographer: Paul Vobel; editor: Ben Lewis; music: Johnny Mandel; cast: Lloyd Bochner (David Moore), Frankie Avalon (Brian Ferrers), Mariette Hartley (Ruth Knight), Michael Pate (Vilado), Hari Rhodes (Kasongo), Torin Thatcher (Jack Cuortemayn), George Sawaya (Arab), Peter Mamakos (Chavera), Ron Whelan (Boat Captain); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Philip N. Krasne/Al Zimbalist; MGM; 1963)|
Tarzan-like African jungle tale, except this B-film
is insulting to Arabs."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Another Tarzan-like African jungle tale, except this B-film is insulting to Arabs-- depicted as brutish slave-traders. Director James B. Clark ("A Dog of Flanders"/"Flipper"/"Misty") efficiently directs but never gets this drum-beater jungle flick to send a clear message about its intent other than show the Arabs as nasty slave-traders who beat blacks and act like beasts. In the middle of this dreary jungle setting, costar Frankie Avalon, playing an earnest juvenile, takes time out to sing a few misplaced songs that are too ridiculous to take seriously. It's scripted by Robin Estridge from a story by Arthur Hoerl.
Aggressive engineer David
Moore (Lloyd Bochner), in 1897, is sent to
Equatorial East Africa to plan a new railway route.
Tagging along with him
Ferrers (Frankie Avalon), the callow nephew of the
railroad's owner, who believes this trip will make a
man out of him. In Edwardstown, the travelers meet the elderly
gruff white hunter Jack Cuortemayn (Torin Thatcher), who refuses to be their
guide to the site of the proposed railroad tunnel
because he believes the railroad will damage the
quality of life for the impoverished but
happy-go-lucky natives. Cuortemayn and mission
worker Ruth Knight (Mariette Hartley) warn the impatient Moore
that he should not start his safari until a band of
dangerous Arab slavers leave the area. The headstrong Moore, in a
rush to reach the site and save the railroad money,
ignores the advice and hires another guide, only to be
rescued by Cuortemayn
and Ruth from an attack by the slavers. A jungle
romance develops between womanizer Moore and the
lonely virgin missionary worker, a relationship which
attempts to break up by agreeing to be a guide for the
railroad man and having Ruth escorted to her mission
hospital site by the natives. But Ruth overhears their
conversation and treks to the mission without them,
only the slavers capture Ruth and threaten to sell her
as a valuable virgin slave to someone in Damascus. Cuortemayn and Moore locate
where the slavers hold their captives in a secret
mountain cave, and their surprise attack frees all the
captives. The men then use the dynamite meant to blast
a tunnel for the railroad, to instead blow to
smithereens the slavers trapped in the mountain cave.
At best a routine jungle
pic, which was about as exciting as watching a miscast
Frankie comb his hair.
REVIEWED ON 7/23/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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