Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) finds a dead pygmy floating down a river in some driftwood. With him he has the army dogtags for Captain A.K. Kingsley (Ann Savage) and a lasso. While looking at the pygmy’s possessions the rope falls into Jim’s fire but doesn’t burn. Noting this, Jim decides to send the rope along with the dogtags to the U.S. department of war.
Kingsley had been reported lost in the jungle. A.K. Kingsley is Ann Kingsley, an expert in tropical plants. The U.S. department of war learns that the rope is from a ngoma plant. Its fibers make a rope stronger than any other rope ever made as well as it being fireproof. A rope made of such material would be extremely valuable to the Army. The ngoma plant is only found in pygmy territory. This means that Ann had been alive and found the plant. The question is, is she still alive?
The U.S. Army sends Major Bolton (David Bruce) to the jungle to try to find Ann and the ngoma plant. Jim agrees to take them to pygmy country but warns Bolton that they will also be near a tribe called the Bush Devils. While the U.S. is looking for Ann, the proprietor of the Bugandi Trading Company, Leon Marko (Steven Geray) is working with a foreign government to try to find the ngoma plants first. Marko and his minions head out into the jungle after Jim and the Army.
In the jungle Ann is staying with the pygmies for safety. They have been harassed by who they think are the Bush Devils but are in reality foreign agents in disguise. When Jim and the Army finally find Ann, they still have the foreign agents to deal with.
“Jungle Jim: Pygmy Island” was released in 1950 and was directed by William Berke. It is a jungle adventure film and is the fifth in the series of sixteen Jungle Jim films starring Johnny Weissmuller. The film is based on the newspaper comic strip character created by Alex Raymond and Don Moore.
This is one of your basic Jungle Jim movies with some stock footage, an elephant stampede and Jim battling a gorilla and a rubber, out of place, alligator. Comic relief is provided by Timba the monkey.
Say what you want about 50’s style sexism and racism but at least a lot of little people got a paycheck and one of the main characters is a woman in the service. Although I secretly believe that they made the captain a woman because they had issues with an Army man taking advice from a little person. But then the actual Army men didn’t take Jungle Jim’s advice even though they hired him to guide them. Such is the personality of a 50’s male. Despite all this it is a decent jungle movie and enjoyable for Jungle Jim fans.
There were a number of little people stars that were in the movie. Among them were Angelo Rossitto, John George, Billy Barty and Billy Curtis. The gorilla was played by Steve Calvert.