Jungle Goddess (1948)

Between 1922 and 1954, Lewis D. Collins made around 120 films, most of them Westerns. Here’s one of the rare ones that doesn’t have horses and six shooters, set in the jungle and starring future Superman George Reeves as an explorer.

Pilot Mike Patton (Reeves) and Bob Simpson (Ralph Byrd, who had played Dick Tracy numerous times, so this is a meta comic hero team-up) are looking for Greta Vanderhorn (Wanda McKay, who played the leading lady in many a B movie) in the jungle and find her being worshipped by the natives. She begs Mike to help her escape, but Bob has gone insane and they just might not make it out alive.

Producers William Stephen and Robert Lippert would bring back the Reeves and Byrd team for Thunder in the Pines and had plans for four movies with them every year. Banana Fleet was planned, but never got made.

The white goddess trope might not have started here, but it’s definitely happening in this one. The trope probably started in W. H. Hudson’s 1904 book Green Mansions with his character Rima. The first film example is 1920’s The Jungle Princess. We’ll have a few more examples this week, trust me.

You can watch this on MovieOnline.


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