Of all Republic's directors, John H. Auer was the most consistently stylish and imaginative. This is a good but by no means outstanding example of his work, exemplified by arresting camera movements (the swift tracking shots through the jungle after the rescue),sharp cutting, long takes, deep focus compositions and fast-paced dialogue.
Where Auer fails in this film is with his cast. Admittedly Vera Ralston gives one of her best portrayals in a dramatic film. In addition, she is lovingly photographed and stunningly costumed. Certainly, she looks the part! Less at home is George Brent. He looks far too old for a romantic lead. He is often seen from unflattering camera angles, the photographer taking few pains to disguise his double chin, receding hair-line and wrinkled neck. What is worse, Mr Brent's awkwardness in the role increases as the film progresses. In the climactic scenes, his performance is totally unconvincing. He even handles the off-screen narration with a lack of assurance that detracts from the effectiveness of the fade-out.
True, the script is at its weakest in the final scenes — some might even describe it as absurd — and Auer has a habit of intercutting two tracking shots of people coming together, an otherwise fine idea which he turns into a distraction by filming the shots in the studio in front of an obvious process screen!
Brian Aherne is almost as uncomfortable in his role as Mr Brent. He too is reasonably convincing in his earlier scenes and an almost total failure later on. Despite his billing, his part is very small. This and the unsuitability of the role doubtless influenced his decision to leave Hollywood. He did not return for five years.
This was one of Constance Bennett's last films (her fourth last actually). She too is unflatteringly photographed and though she is in the film quite a bit her part is unglamorous. Aside from Miss Ralston, Fortunio Bonanova has the film's most dramatic piece. He handles it with some skill, the episode with the wounded panther owing as much to his chillingly delivered commentary as it does to Auer's sharp cutting and deft camera (and Miss Ralston's hair- raising screams)!
A long-time associate of Republic boss Herbert J. Yates (who financed Auer's "The Crime of Dr Crespi" back in 1935),Auer was associate producer on all his latter-day Republic assignments and his influence might justly be said to pervade every aspect of his films. He contributed to the script, closely supervised the art direction (his films usually have considerable location footage, but this one is an exception — aside from a few small shots, chiefly at the climax, it was lensed entirely in the studio, making use of stock material for the establishing shots of the jungle in the pre- credits sequence, the brief flashes of Rio, the races, etc.).
On his thirties' films Auer usually had the services of Republic's ace cinematographer Jack Marta, but here he has Reggie Lanning, never a first-class photographer, whose indifferent day-for-night shooting in the car chase sequence and failure to dim his lighting on players who are heavily made up, destroys much of the film's illusion.
Auer was more fortunate on other aspects of the film. The editing especially, where the thrilling sequence prior to the headhunters' attack is built up by increasing the tempo of the cutting; and also the rapid montage of Rio stock footage turned over like the pages in a book. Another editing highlight is at the very end when the whole film is reprized in less than 30 seconds!
Taking a cue from RKO producer Val Lewton, the headhunters are never actually shown. Rather we sense their presence through Auer's expert handling of atmosphere and his brilliant use of sound effects — the drums rising to a crescendo, and then the stillness.
In the Lydeckers, Republic had the best special effects men in the business. There are two superlative examples of their work in this film: the plane crash which is utterly convincing thanks to their meticulous attention to the smallest details (notice the light moving down the length of the model plane, a realistic touch which ties in with the cut to the full-scale studio mock-up as Brent opens the door); and Judy's car hurtling over the cliff with its brilliant use of a subjective camera.
Production values are always high in Vera Ralston's vehicles (after all, she was the boss' wife!). The sets are many and varied, large and lavishly appointed, and there is no stinting on dress extras.
Angel on the Amazon
Action / Adventure / Romance
Angel on the Amazon
Action / Adventure / Romance
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American Jim Warburton crashes his plane in the Amazon jungle and promptly falls in love with Christine Ridgegway , a mysterious huntress who rescues him and his passengers. Christine determinedly evades Jim's courtship and advances, making Dr. Karen Lawrence suspect she has a tragic reason for fleeing to Rio to escape Jim. Karen and Jim follow her to Rio de Janeiro and, while dining in a restaurant, see a man named Sebastian Ortega greet Christine. She screams, faints and falls into a long illness. Later, Ortega tells Jim that he knew Mrs. Ridgeway, whom he assumes was Christine's mother, when she was honeymooning in the jungle---a couple of decades ago---with her adventurer-husband, Anthony Ridgeway. Although terrified of animals, Mrs. Ridgeway had saved her husband's life when a panther attacked him in the same jungle where Christine was hunting when Jim's airplane crashed. She plunged into hysteria, following the incident, and returned to the United States. Jim thinks this a good story but fails to comprehend why a bad experience in the Brazilian jungle should make Christine fear falling in love. Christine goes to California and Jim follows her. There, he meets Anthony and is told an incredible tale; The Christine that Jim has fallen in love with is not the young girl Jim thinks she is. Christine is the honeymoon bride who saved Anthony's more than twenty years ago. Now, nearly fifty-years-old, she has been in a state of shock since the panther-attack---a state that has made her ageless. Her changeless beauty had became a curse when her grown daughter's fiancée made violent love to her against her will. The daughter, blaming her mother's eternal youth, killed herself. Anthony's critical evaluations of her cursed beauty led to her leaving him and returning to the jungle, where Jim met her. There's still one major twist left before this one ends.
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