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Jungle Girl
(1941 Serial)
Jungle Girl

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About This Film
Cast
Chapters





Cast:

Nyoka Meredith- Frances Gifford
Jack Stanton- Tom Neal
Curly Rogers- Eddie Acuff
Kimbu- Tommy Cook
Dr. John Meredith/Bradley Meredith- Trevor Bardette
Slick Latimer- Gerald Mohr
Shamba- Frank Lackteen
Chief Lutembi- Al Kikume

Frances Gifford

Tom Neal  Trevor Bardette

Gerald Mohr and Eddie Acuff

Frank Lackteen and Tommy Cook


Jungle Girl (1941)
:  The official Nyoka film loosely based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel of the same name.  The first film ever made based on the Nyoka character, and by leaps and bounds better than 1942's "The Perils of Nyoka", the only other Nyoka film produced to date.  Also, "Perils" is an unofficial Nyoka film, but definitely made in some relationship to this serial.

    Nyoka would later become quite popular in comic books, but it is this film serial from Republic Pictures that really made her popular...more so than even the book on which it is based!

    Frances Gifford is a much sexier Nyoka than Kay Aldridge was in "Perils".  She has longer hair, a sexier costume with short skirt, and is extremely pretty.  Gifford's Nyoka is also much more heroic and not so much of a damsel-in-distress as Aldridge's Nyoka had been.  She does so many heroic deeds that she truly is a heroine and not an accessory.  Ms. Gifford deserved her top billing in this picture.  Many times, the actresses of serials who were the main characters did not get this opportunity.

    Tom Neal as the male hero Jack Stanton is quite a stud in this picture.  For a good movie serial, it is so important to have a really great leading man, and Neal fits the bill.  Also of special mention is Eddie Acuff as Curly, Neal's sidekick.  The idea of a comedy sidekick in movie serials was done so many times that most of these guys were token.  Mr. Acuff is absolutely wonderful as Curly because he is not a dimwit or a jerk.  He's funny, and he's more than capable of kicking a**.  He is not so much of a goofball, but you can definitely think of him as the "fun" person of the cast.

    They went out of their way to make the bad guys REALLY bad.  Latimer, Bradley, Shamba...all are disgusting individuals.  You will find them so infuriating that you'll want to tear the stuffing out of your couch with your teeth.  They make you SO darn mad!  This is what makes them so appealing to watch.

    Outstanding filming, excellent acting, and really good writing can all be attributed to this movie serial.  The story makes you actually think and want to see what's happening next.  It is not just mindless fighting from beginning to end.  The action scenes are fantastic, and much more than the fake, drawn-out fist-fighting scenes done in most serials for cheapness.  What I like is that this looks like it's actually filmed in the jungle.  There are so many jungle serials that look like westerns.  And for another nice touch, the natives in this picture are actually supposed to be black.  How novel...black people in the jungle.  Although they're mostly played by whites.  You wouldn't think this is such a big deal, but many jungle serials did not feature blacks in their African settings.  For instance, "The Tiger-Woman" had Indians, and "The Perils of Nyoka" had Arabs.  So it's nice to finally see a Republic Pictures jungle serial with black characters.  It's just appropriate.  I do like Tommy Cook as Kimbu, the little jungle boy and Nyoka's sidekick.  Kimbu is just plain fun and kind of silly.  Cook was ten when he made this movie, and was in a ton of shows throughout his lifetime.  It's interesting to see him as a little kid here and in other shows as an adult.

    The only thing that's missing is a really awesome female villain.  To me, any great heroine film should have a really nasty villainess.  Nyoka does have Vultura in "The Perils of Nyoka", but in this serial she is kept more than busy with the large cast of male baddies.

    There also seems to be a chemistry between the characters that a lot of serials do not have.  You can definitely tell there is some sort of fondness between Nyoka and Jack Stanton, whether it's semi-romance or just a basic likeness.  Jack and Curly you can tell are buddies.  This makes what happens to the characters more significant not only for us, but between the characters in the story.

    To be truthful, I was a bit sad to see this wonderful serial end.  I got so attached to Nyoka, Jack, Curly, and little Kimbu that I was hoping we'd see them again in another serial.  Of course, that never happened.  The next Nyoka serial was NOT a real sequel to this serial and was a Nyoka film by name only.  The Nyoka character herself was changed (in looks and last name, now Gordon) as well as the supporting cast, not to mention her father was still alive and lived throughout the entire serial.  It was a completely different serial, basically using the popular character name and concept of Nyoka as its focus.

Chapters:  Click on title to go to that chapter's own page.

Chapter 1- Death by Voodoo

Chapter 2- Queen of the Beasts

Chapter 3- River of Fire

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Some more vine-swinging and another high dive into the river; dodging arrows as she swims to safety.

Tie-Ups:  Nyoka is tied up twice in this chapter.  So far, she has been tied up in this serial four times.

Chapter 4- Treachery

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Rides an elephant again; comes up with the idea to breathe underwater through reeds; saves Jack and Curly from lion pit and again from a spear trap.

Chapter 5- Jungle Vengeance

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Yet some more vine-swinging; saves Kimbu from a crocodile and kills the crocodile; knocks out Shamba.

Knockouts:  Curly is knocked out once.  This is the first time he has been knocked out in this serial.

Chapter 6- Tribal Fury

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Saves Curly from a funeral pyre.

Knockouts:  Curly is knocked out once.  So far, he has been knocked out in this serial two times.

Tie-Ups:  Curly is tied up once.  Kimbu is tied up once.  This is the first time for Curly, second time for Kimbu.

Extra Info:  Chief Lutembi is killed in this chapter.  He was in chapters 1 and 4-6.

Chapter 7- The Poison Dart

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Rescues Kimbu; saves men from Letembi's warriors.

Chapter 8- Man Trap

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  And even more vine-swinging; saves Jack from lion.

Knockouts:  Nyoka is knocked out once.  So far, she has been knocked out in this serial two times.

Tie-Ups:  Jack is tied up once.  This is the first time he has been tied up in this serial.

Extra Info:  Latimer is finally discovered as a bad guy in this chapter; Kimbu does not appear in this chapter.

Chapter 9- Treasure Tomb

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Again with the vine-swinging; saves Jack from quicksand; saves Curly from a savage; high dives into the river (again); tips over Shamba's boat.

Knockouts:  Jack is knocked out twice in this chapter.  So far, he has been knocked out in this serial three times.

Extra Info:  The connection between Latimer and Shamba is discovered; Kimbu does not appear in this chapter.

Chapter 10- Jungle Killer

Knockouts:  Jack is knocked out once.  Curly is knocked out once.  This makes four KOs for Jack and three for Curly so far in this serial.

Tie-Ups:  Nyoka is tied up once.  So far, she has been tied up in this serial five times.

Chapter 11- Dangerous Secret

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Hangs off a rope cable.

Knockouts:  Nyoka, Jack, and Curly are each knocked out once.  This makes three KOs for Nyoka so far in this serial, five KOs for Jack, and four for Curly.

Tie-Ups:  Jack is tied-up once.  So far, he has been tied up in this serial two times.

Chapter 12- Trapped

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Saves Curly from being speared; swings on a rope and kicks a guy; holds a gun on Latimer; saves Jack from crusher; vine swings and KOs Latimer.

Knockouts:  Nyoka is knocked out once.  So far, she has been knocked out in this serial four times.

Extra Info:  Bradley Meredith is discovered as a fake by Nyoka.

Chapter 13- Ambush

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Escapes from spike trap; jumps on snipers; shoots flares at natives.

Knockouts:  Nyoka is knocked out once.  Jack is knocked out once.  This makes a total of five KOs for Nyoka in this serial and six for Jack.

Chapter 14- Diamond Trail

Nyoka's Heroic Deeds:  Some more vine-swinging and elephant riding; gets medical tools to take a bullet out of Jack's shoulder.

Tie-Ups:  Nyoka is tied up once.  Curly is tied up once.  This makes a total of six times she has been tied up in this serial; Curly twice.

Chapter 15- Flight to Freedom

How the Bad Guys Die:  Bradley Meredith is shot to death by Slick Latimer; Shamba the evil medicine man is speared by a friendly native; one of Latimer's henchman (Brock) is shot by Jack; the other henchman for Latimer becomes a pin cushion for many spears by the friendly natives; Latimer falls out of the airplane while in flight and hits the ground.

Extra Info:  I love this serial, but I don't really like how they ended it.  Nyoka does not do one heroic thing in this, the final and most important chapter!  She does not kill any of the major bad guys herself.  Also, she does not learn anything more about her father's death or Bradley besides the fact he is John's twin brother.  Ideally, Nyoka should've killed Bradley for killing her father.  Curly should've killed Shamba for all the trouble he put him through, mainly the frame-up for the murder of Chief Lutembi.  Jack's main enemy was clearly Latimer and they did right by having a showdown between them, especially in the plane.  I also didn't mind that the two henchmen were offed by the natives.

Quick Statistics (Through 12):

Nyoka Knocked Out:  5
Jack Knocked Out:  6
Curly Knocked Out:  4
Nyoka Tied Up:  6
Jack Tied Up:  2
Curly Tied Up:  2
Kimbu Tied Up:  2