Newest Reviews
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Newest Articles
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
  Naked Jungle, The Ant Attack
Year: 1954
Director: Byron Haskin
Stars: Charlton Heston, Eleanor Parker, William Conrad, Abraham Sofaer, John Dierkes, Douglas Fowley, Romo Vincent, Leonard Strong
Genre: Romance, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1901, and Joanna (Eleanor Parker) hails from New Orleans, but has embarked on an adventure to South America and the Amazon Jungle. The reason? She has agreed to be married to Leiningen (Charlton Heston), a plantation owner she has never met, but she knew his brother for some time, and they both arranged the union. On the boat trip there, everyone who knows her new husband is strangely reluctant to tell her what he's like, and when they finally arrive at the area of the plantation where he lives, his manservant (Abraham Sofaer) is sent to meet Joanna and take her to the house. When Leiningen finally does show up, he's not what Joanna was expecting - and vice versa.

Written by Ben Maddow (credited under Philip Yordan's name) and Ranald MacDougall, from a story by Carl Stephenson, The Naked Jungle was a mixture of romance and daring exploits in an exotic locale from the producer (George Pal) and director (Byron Haskin) team who had brought out War of the Worlds recently before. The most celebrated aspect of the film is the onslaught of millions of ants that enlivens the final act and brings the simmering sexual tension to the boil, but before we reach that there is the problem of getting Heston and Parker's characters to get along with each other. Leiningen is a man who has built up his empire of cocoa beans with his "bare hands", and is fiercely proud of his achievements; now he wants children but has to go through the tricky business of falling in love first.

Initially, Leiningen treats Joanna's presence as a business arrangement, and the story settles into a pattern of wary conversations between the two. Joanna is more independently minded than he was hoping, and Leiningen is more arrogant than she was hoping, so her efforts at friendliness towards him tend to be thrown back in her face for most of the time. She compliments the food ("It's lizard," he replies tersely), plays the piano (which needs frequent playing to keep it tune - unsubtle sexual metaphor ahoy) and tries to fit in with the alien world she has entered, but it looks as if she will never be accepted. Great play is made of the culture clash, with several scenes of Joanna failing to understand the natives' rituals, which include putting a transgressor on top of a wooden tower and firing darts at him through a blow pipe.

Joanna is disturbed by their supposed savagery, which also includes casually carrying shrunken heads around. As Parker suffers prettily, with the oppressive heat of the environment obviously getting on everyone's nerves, Heston puts in a rather one note performance, with the scenes where he philosophises about his "complex" personality unintentionally amusing. The new husband and wife are obviously attracted to each other, but are significantly unable to make a connection, as can be seen one night when Leiningen gets roaring drunk, bursts into Joanna's bedroom, smashes some perfume bottles and awkwardly tries to force himself on her. Deeply unimpressed by this, Joanna makes up her mind that the Amazonian life is not for her, and decides to leave on the next boat upriver.

However, there is something looming on the horizon that will bring them together, lots of tiny somethings, in fact. The local Commissioner (William Conrad) visits to warn Leiningen that there's a strange atmosphere in the jungle, it's quiet - too quiet. They take a trip deeper into the vegetation to discover villages have been deserted and Leiningen's rival has been reduced to a skeleton. Yes, the soldier ants are on the march, and if the film has a villain, its those critters. Now our hero has to stop the insects from laying waste to his property, a near impossible task. If watching nature documentaries about bugs makes your skin itch, then The Naked Jungle is not for you, but the rampage of ants is spectacularly handled and the highlight of the action as Heston is driven to near insanity as he battles in vain. It's almost like watching a horror film by the end as the invaders eat everything, including people, in their path. The only problem is that fans of the romantic angle might not like the ants, and fans of the ants might have a hard time sitting through the romance. Music by Daniele Amfiteatrof.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 7784 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Byron Haskin  (1899 - 1984)

American director, cinematographer and special effects pioneer. Entered Hollywood in 1919 as an assistant cameraman, and was director of photography for several John Barrymore films. Haskin directed a few films in the late 1920s and worked in England as a technical advisor, and in 1937 became head of Warner's special effects department. In the 1945 he joined Paramount to resume his directing career, where he worked for the next 20 years, turning in such sci-fi classics as The War of the Worlds, From the Earth to the Moon and Robinson Crusoe on Mars, plus the adventure yarn The Naked Jungle.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: