Saturday, February 27, 2016

Panther Girl Of The Kongo (1955)

Starring Phyllis Coates, Myron Healey, Arthur Space, John Day, Mike Ragan
Directed by Franklin Adreon
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

In this movie serial, a wildlife photographer encounters giant claw monsters in the African jungle, and recruits a white hunter to help her protect a native village from the creatures. 

One of the final movie serials of Republic Pictures, and like their other efforts in the decade, this one is built around recycled footage from serials of the past, yet still can be enjoyed as an original effort, thanks largely to its ludicrous plot involving lobsters grown to giant proportions.  The lobster footage isn't integrated too well with the actors, but good use is made of a giant claw reproduction which appears out of nowhere to grip the actors at appropriate moments.  The serial itself is pretty standard fare, with routine cliffhangers and not enough surprises in their resolutions, but is notable for a gender role reversal with Coates battling a lion and crocodile to the death, and saving Healey, the male lead, on several occasions.  Healey, who still gets involved in all the serial's fisticuffs, is probably one of the better actors to grace a chapterplay like this, and was already charming television viewers in many roles throughout the 1950s.

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