The Naked Jungle

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THE NAKED JUNGLE—–“You’re up against a monster twenty miles long and two miles wide…forty square miles of agonizing death! You can’t stop it!”   The first two-thirds of this adventure is mildly interesting talk, as humorless Brazilian plantation owner Charlton Heston and his mail-order bride Eleanor Parker snipe and sulk at each other. Then it gets neat, as an ocean of red ants–‘Marabunta‘— march on the hacienda. Finally, its skin-crawly and spectacular as Chuck & Co. battle with fire and flood against the ravenous little critters.

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Ernest Laszlo’s color lensing is attractive, and the score, from Danielle Amfitheatrof, has some appropriate eeriness. Heston makes a stalwart enough hero, despite being stiff from all his scowling, while Parker’s hot red tresses and creamy skin compensate for her over-acting. They each get some pokey lines to batten each other with. From her: “If you knew anything about music, you’d know the best piano is one that’s been played.” (that’s known as a hint) From him: You’re very beautiful. Intelligent. Accomplished. There must be something wrong with you.”  marabunta-gronde-the-naked-jungle-byron-haski-L-yE1ngP

Directed by Byron Haskin, produced by George Pal, this 1954 thriller came on the heels of their triumph the year before with War Of The Worlds. Based on the classic short story “Leiningen Versus the Ants” by Carl Stephenson, the 95-minute creepout made a tidy $2,300,000. With William Conrad, Abraham Sofaer, Douglas Fowley, John Dierkes.Ants

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