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Film / Jungle Goddess

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Jungle Goddess is a 1948 movie directed by Lewis D Collins and starring George Reeves, Wanda McKay and Ralph Byrd.

Down-on-their-luck pilots Mike and Bob are hired to track down Greta Vanderhorn, a millionnaire's heiress daughter, whose plane went down in the central African jungle some years prior. Upon arriving in the jungle, the two are immediately captured by natives (with gun-crazy Bob killing one in the process) and brought before their leader Mata Greta... the very heiress they were sent to find.

Turns out the natives, upon finding Greta in the jungle after her plane crash, instantly began to worship her as a goddess, apparently just because of the color of her skin. She insists that Bob and Mike would have been treated similarly had Bob not murdered; but, while Bob the "white devil" awaits execution at the hands of the natives, Mike and Greta work up a plan to get the three of them back to civilization. But between the usual dangers in the jungle and the natives' ever-decreasing opinion of "Mata" Greta, escape won't be so easy...

Not to be confused with the 1956 movie Liane, Jungle Goddess.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Criminal History: When Mike and Bob are imprisoned in the hut in the native village, Bob remarks that he's been in less comfortable jails than this. (In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffing, Crow replies "That's nothing to be proud of!".)
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Olonga and his pseudo-African gibberish yelling.
  • Darkest Africa
  • The Ditz: Good Lord, Wanama!
  • Double Standard: When the male leads show up to "save" Greta the first thing they do is shoot dead an unarmed tribesman. Greta calls the guys out for what they've done, causing the men to express honest confusion over why she or they should care about an African being killed. (What measure is a non-white, apparently.) At the end, when a native kills Bob with a spear, Mike shoots him even though it appears Bob's all they wanted, and even though Bob was in fact trying to escape his own execution and the spear incident was justified.
  • Fur Bikini: Greta wears a fetching leopard skin halter top and miniskirt ensemble, with a matching leopard skin cape for those chilly evenings.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Wanama tells Bob (the villain) that he's "very nice"... right after he insulted her by calling her "dumb" (she was never taught the word "dumb", so she assumed it was a synonym for "smart"). She wises up, though.
  • Jerkass: The Ax-Crazy (or, in his case, Gun-Crazy) Bob.
  • Jungle Princess: Greta, the titular Jungle Goddess.
    • Subverted a bit by the fact that she hasn't really fully "Gone Native" and wants to be rescued. She does become best friends with Wanama, though.
  • Mighty Whitey: The "Africans" in the movie actually worship white people, for absolutely no reason aside from the mention they'd never seen a blonde chick before.note 
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In this African jungle, there are cougars (from the Americas) & orangutans (from Borneo).
  • Mistaken for Gods: The African tribe assume the fair-haired Greta is a goddess, and she plays along (presumably out of fear for what might happen if she doesn't). By the time Mike and Bob find her , the natives (spearheaded by the witch doctor) seem to be just starting to have doubts about her.
  • No Indoor Voice: The witch-doctor Olonga, a hefty walking stereotype whose only lines consist of busting in and yelling some gibberish really loud several times.
  • Sanity Slippage: It's implied that Bob suffers this, through a combination of fear of the natives and paranoia over Mike and Greta spending so much time alone together, jumping to the conclusion that they're colluding to escape without him.
  • Token Evil Team Mate: Bob is the villain but starts out as simply Mike's snarky, less virtuous friend, fellow pilot & companion.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The movie poster makes the movie look WAY more exciting than it really is. Greta is not a "Temptress" or "Ruler of Thousands" and most of the flick is people sitting around talking with a couple of fistfights thrown in.
  • Trigger-Happy: Bob, whose reaction to anything unexpected is to shoot it. This includes him shooting a coconut dropped by a very lost orangutan.
  • You No Take Candle: The "Africans" who speak English (played by a Mexican actress & a Filipino actor). Everyone else are actual black people who speak gibberish.