Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Female Jungle

Cinema Monolith: 2/10
IMDb: 5.6/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: ** out of 4

Released on June 16, 1956
Not rated
73 minutes

Directed by Bruno Ve Sota

Written by Burt Kaiser and Bruno Ve Sota

Cast: Lawrence Tierney, John Carradine, Burt Kaiser, Jayne Mansfield, Kathleen Crowley, Rex Thorsen, James Kodl, Cornelius Keefe, Connie Cezon, Davis Roberts, Jean Lewis, Bruno Ve Sota

Being such a fan of film noir movies, it’s rare that I don’t find at least a handful of redeeming qualities when I watch one, no matter how simple or poorly-made it may be. But with Female Jungle, a tawdry crime mystery from the fledgling American Releasing Corporation, there was only one such quality…and it occurred during the first forty seconds of the film. After that, everything was strictly routine and almost entirely forgettable, and for a movie labeled by multiple sources as ‘film noir’, it sure didn’t offer much in that regard. In fact, after awhile I began to wonder why this was ever considered noir at all.

An actress is murdered in front of a two-bit nightclub, and the local authorities waste no time adding several names to the suspect list. At the bar was an off-duty police sergeant, who’d had a few too many, and can’t remember anything except he’d been with a blonde…but was it the actress, or someone else? And among the crowd of crime-scene gawkers was a down-on-his-luck artist, who’d earlier sketched the actress inside the club, and whose nervous wife just so happens to work at that same establishment. And who was that well-dressed, sophisticated gent who quietly—and ominously—followed the artist’s wife home after her shift that night?

It’s unfortunate that after that promising pre-credit jolt, there wasn’t much else worth recommending, and taking full responsibility for that would have to be actor Bruno Ve Sota, who not only co-wrote the screenplay, but was making his directorial debut as well…and sadly, it showed. This was pretty much a dud from all angles; besides sub-par direction, lazy storytelling, and uninspired camerawork, the dialogue was clunky and nowhere near as hard-boiled as it should’ve been, the lighting was more murky than low-key, and scenes played out at an odd and clumsy pace, with far too many puzzling cutaways, and needless exposition scenes that dragged on and on and on.

And though actress Kathleen Crowley was first-billed on the poster and in the opening credits (and then fifth-billed in the end credits), I’d say Lawrence Tierney was our film’s lead, albeit in name and stature only; whether it was his character or a reflection of himself, he seemed to be lost and distracted during his scenes, as if he wasn’t sure what he was doing there, and was eager to find a way out. This was supposed to be a comeback film of sorts for the hot-headed Tierney, after a series of off-screen scrapes and troubles with the law had tarnished his image, but by this time the barn door had already closed, and after this his career as a leading man was, for the most part, done.

As for the rest of the cast, not only was John Carradine the most compelling—and accomplished—actor of the bunch, playing the sophisticated gent I mentioned above, he was also the least hammy, which took me by surprise, and made me appreciate his efforts even more. And though her part was small, I was still quite impressed with the work of platinum-blonde sexpot Jayne Mansfield, in her first film role. Yes, she’d already been typecast, but at least she delivered on those expectations, and did a decent job doing so. To me, both Carradine and Mansfield were the only aspects of Female Jungle worth wasting seventy-three minutes over, and dare I say, they deserved better than this.

So what exactly does Female Jungle mean? It’s not a women’s prison drama, it’s not an Amazonian princess adventure, and I think we’ve established that it’s certainly not film noir…so with the title offering no clues, I guess we’ll stick with calling it a crime mystery, and be done with it. But what did we learn—if anything—from all of this? Well, I guess it proved that crime doesn’t pay (and neither does being a sketch artist), that life is cheap, and that bartenders can sure as hell be annoying at times. But perhaps the most important message was this: be careful, ladies, it’s a jungle out there. Hey wait, the title…now it makes sense!  (2/10)

12 comments on “Female Jungle

  1. Dracula

    I thought Johnny Weissmuller might have been the male lead in this one. As Dracula is posting this, he is our neighbor from Timisoara, Romania.


    • Todd B

      Yes he was, in what was once Freidorf, in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (okay, I looked that up). I also discovered that, along with his Tarzan films, Johnny played a character named Jungle Jim, in thirteen movies released between 1948 and 1954 and in a television series which aired from 1956 to 1958. And now you’ve got me thinking: why hasn’t there ever been a movie called Vampire Jungle?



    Umm… I suspect there is! If porn counts. (And I don’t mean “goat porn”). ;o


    • Todd B

      Well, you’re not going to believe this, but I just did an on-line search for ‘jungle vampires’…and found a movie from 2002 called Skin Eating Jungle Vampires, which is not only a horror film, but a sexploitation horror film! So good call on that one!

      And in case you weren’t aware, goat porn is now available at The Lion’s Den, located just one block west of the I-10, at the Picacho Peak exit in Picacho.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CATZONA!

        AHAHAA! (or should I say BAAHA). It was just a matter of time for the Lion’s Den! And true confession I googled ‘jungle vampires’ and had a bit of low-down on the ‘go-down’ (pun intended).


      • Todd B

        Now, I think everyone who reads these comments will be doing an on-line search of ‘jungle vampires’!


  3. NOOOoooooo 2/10! This was the one we were discussing with that 40 seconds of murder that made this look like this was gonna be one must see essential killer thriller. Oh no! Read the review and now I’m in shock! I didn’t realise at the time there was a few big names in it. Such a shame it’s a dud. How could it be with that ace title too Female Jungle. LOL sad to hear it didn’t even make sense to why it was even called that. Great poster though and you gotta love that tagline….

    ….. Nothing more dangerous than a love starved animal caught in a FEMALE JUNGLE.


    • Todd B

      Sorry to get your hopes up, Mikey! That opening really dupes everyone into thinking they’re in for something great…NOPE! And the poster is cool…too bad it has nothing at all to do with the movie! Nor does the tag line…that and the rest of the poster exist only because of Jayne Mansfield, who was an unknown when this was made, but had become more popular by the time the film came out, a situation which the studio heads decided to take full advantage of, of course.

      And I guess Female Jungle should consider itself lucky I gave it a 2/10, because the other Bruno Ve Sota directorial effort I’ve reviewed, Invasion of the Star Creatures, only earned a 1/10. Now I need to watch the last of the Ve Sota Trilogy, The Brain Eaters, and see if it bookends the other two’s ratings with a 3/10, or a dreaded 0/10!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not at all buddy. It’s good that you took one for the team and reported back your findings. Interesting to hear the Jayne Mansfield info. Yeah you gotta take full advance of these film star ladies! Jeepers that sounds like a line right out of the Weinstein company!!!

        I guess now you done the two you gotta get the trilogy in. Oh man! but will you come out the same man you were before you pressed play…. Only time will tell. Flash forward two hours later and you are bouncing off the walls of a padded cell in Oregon State Hospital watching a rather tall Native American starting to rip a basin out the ground.

        PS will be back to read the Star Creatures review soon


      • Todd B

        I did find a decent copy of The Brain Eaters on-line and saved it, so Ve Sota Trilogy, here I come! Another one taken for the team! And if I do end up in a hospital because of it, please do me a favor and press a pillow to my face.

        And I appreciate you checking out the Star Creatures review, and good luck not being scarred by that experience, but the big question is: ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO WATCH THE MOVIE?



    Seriously?!?! No posts in HOW LONG??!! EEEGADSMAN!


    • Todd B

      No posts in about six months! I’ve been concentrating on the SP78 site, but I keep wanting to get at least one review done before the year is out…I just can’t seem to get interested. We’ll see if I can pull it off…I have one that’s half written already.


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