Two sailors are following two jungle tribesmen when they are spotted. The sailors kill the tribesmen before they are themselves killed. Their orders were to follow the tribesmen to their hidden city. Not wanting to face their boss they decide to follow the tribesmen’s trail and see if they can run across any more natives. The two dead tribesmen are found by Li Wanna (Elena Verdugo). When the sailors spot Li Wanna they give chase. A pack of lions kill the sailors and Jungle Jim saves Li Wanna.
Li Wanna tells Jim that she comes from the hidden city of Dzamm. She also says that white men know of the existence of the city and are trying to find it to steal its treasures. She has been looking for Jim to ask for his help. She convinces him to accompany her to the hidden city. In Dzamm Li Wanna introduces Jim to her father, and the leader of Dzamm, Zoron (Nelson Leigh). Zoron hopes that Jungle Jim will give the white men a bag of diamonds as a piece offering in hopes that they will leave the people of Dzamm alone.
In the meantime Li Wanna’s brother Chot (Paul Marion) has been visiting the white man’s settlement. Chot is infatuated with a woman there, Norina (Myrna Dell). He has been bringing her gifts of gold and diamonds and basically spilling the beans about the hidden city and its riches. Norina shows them to her uncle, Calhoun (Joseph Vitale). Calhoun is associated with Captain Rawlins (Ralph Dunn). Together they plan on exploiting Chot and finding a way to get to the hidden city so they can take over the place and raid it.
On his way to the settlement Jim saves a gorilla (Ray Corrigan) and her baby from a lion. He also saves a pearl diver from a shark. At the settlement he sees Chot coming from Calhoun’s place and realizes that Chot is the one who told Calhoun about Dzamm. He gives Calhoun half the diamonds and then heads to Rawlins’ boat to give him his half. But Rawlins and Calhoun are greedy and will do whatever it takes to get their hands on all that Dzamm has to offer.
“Jungle Jim: The Lost Tribe” was released in 1949 and was directed by William Berke. It is a jungle adventure film and is the second in the series of sixteen Jungle Jim films that starred Johnny Weissmuller.
Among the stock footage are the usual incongruent animals and settings, some alligators instead of crocodiles, Indian elephants and a chimpanzee playing a baby gorilla. It’s the usual footage picked out by people who have never set foot in Africa but that’s OK. The audience that it was meant for never did either. None of this makes the film any less fun to watch.
Zimba the gorilla is played by Ray Corrigan. The film was shot at Corrigan’s Corriganville Movie Ranch.
Weissmuller was born in Freidorf Romania. His parents, Elisabetha and Petrus Weissmuller, came to the United States when Johnny was seven months old. His younger brother Peter was born in Pennsylvania. According to the Olympic Games Rules, participants must be either citizens or nationals of the country they represent. Reportedly Johnny and Peter switched identities so that Johnny could participate in the Olympics representing the United States. Johnny won five gold medals and one bronze for swimming, fifty-two U.S. National championships and set more than fifty world records. Johnny was always afraid that the Amateur Athletic Union would find out that he was not born in the U.S. and strip him of his medals and records.