A messenger is attacked and killed by a gorilla. Kaw-Kaw the Crow sees the man attacked. The letter he is carrying falls to the ground. Kaw-Kaw picks it up in his beak and flies it to Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller). When Jim finds the dead messenger he sees the gorilla tracks. He is puzzled by them since there are no gorillas in that part of the jungle. The letter requests that Jim come to the Nairobi Animal Preserve to see the warden of the reserve, Frank Bentley (Selmer Jackson).
While on his way to the preserve Jim saves a woman from a gorilla attack. When Jim throws his knife at the gorilla the scream from it sounds more human than animal. The woman says her name is Nyobi (Suzanne Dalbert) and that she got separated from her caravan. Her tale sounds a little off but Jim takes Nyobi with him to the reserve.
Once at the reserve Jim meets the warden’s niece Barbara Bentley (Trudy Marshall). Barbara tells Jim that her uncle is sick with an unknown fever and is being treated by Dr. Brandt (Onslow Stevens). When Jim sees Bentley he is feverish and rambling. Jim puts together a jungle medicine for Bentley. It brings his fever down enough to talk to him briefly. Bentley tells Jim a tale of how Nazi’s looted gold from the country of Shalikari and hid it in the mountains that are part of the preserve. That night a gorilla kills Bentley.
Later Jim captures one of the gorillas and finds out that the gorillas are really men in suits that are terrorizing people to keep them away from where the Nazis are trying to retrieve the gold. Jim also finds out that Nyobi is the princess of Shalikari and her people are the rightful owners of the gold. When Brandt turns out to be the leader of the Nazis Jim has his hands full trying to defeat him and his henchmen.
“Jungle Jim: Mark of the Gorilla” was released in 1950 and was directed by William Berke. It is a jungle adventure film and is the third film in the sixteen movie Jungle Jim series starring Johnny Weissmuller.
The main gorilla in this film was played by Steve Calvert. The beginning narration was done by Holmes Herbert. As usual, the film boasts the standard stock footage of jungle animals and even incorporates a fight between a lion and a tiger. Jim does make note that tigers are more dangerous and powerful than lions but forgets to mention that they do not exist in Africa. Oops.
If you are looking for goose-stepping Nazis with German accents sporting uniforms and tiny moustaches, forget it. These Nazis look and sound quite American. They may not be what you would fantasize Nazis in gorilla suits would look like but the war had been over for five years and they’ve had a chance to assimilate. Still the war wasn’t so far in the past that their image and evil doings hasn’t faded in people’s minds. In 1950 Nazis were, and in some ways still are, the quintessential image of malevolence.
As with all of the Jungle Jim features, the movie is fun and slightly incorrect. No matter. The main focus of the Jungle Jim films was for children, of all ages.