Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Monday, 12 September 2011
White Witch Doctor - pure hokum!
WHITE WITCH DOCTOR, 1953. Back to pure hokum with this 20th Century Fox actioner set in the Belgian Congo – but unlike THE AFRICAN QUEEN, MOGAMBO or THE NUN’S STORY we are firmly on the backlot here. I suppose one has to admire the ingenuity with which location footage is incorporated with the stars on sound stages, but it seems none of those Fox Hayward movies were filmed abroad (UNTAMED also in Africa with Ty Power, SOLDIER OF FORTUNE supposedly in Hong Kong with Gable, etc) This is one of Susan’s I had missed but both she and Robert Mitchum are on autopilot here, as the spunky widowed nurse arriving to help the natives, and he as the adventurer looking for gold who agrees to help her as cover to get to the tribe with the goldmine. Walter Slezak provides another deliciously sleazy villain and the local colour is piled on. With Hathaway directing, music by Herrmann and photography by Shamroy the experts make it look better than it is. A routine timewaster then for admirers of the leads who were better together in Ray’s THE LUSTY MEN. One good moment has a tarantula crawling on Susan in bed, more realistically done a decade before James Bond's tarantula in DR NO - the escaped gorilla is a man in a gorilla suit though!