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ANTS MARCH ON MELODRMA IN BYRON HASKIN'S 'THE NAKED JUNGLE'

Charlton Heston & Eleanor Parker Year: 1954 Rates: ***

No Killer Ant movie is as strange (or as lacking of ants) as Byron Haskin's THE NAKED JUNGLE, which covers over fifty-minutes of a bizarre melodrama concerning a North American plantation owner in South America, being not so welcoming and unimaginably rude to gorgeous mail-order bride Eleanor Parker... 

But Charlton Heston, over-dramatic in straight-forward drama, is more natural during the 11th hour whilst attempting to thwart hordes of ants marching closer and closer home.

Haskin, fresh from WAR OF THE WORLDS, directs with a stage-play finesse as the camera glides along with the conversational "action" between the couple: while Heston fights the urge to lust for a once-married "used" beauty, she resists his manly, open-shirt arrogance. Meanwhile, chief servant Abraham Sofaer is no stranger to playing butler to a rich plantation owner with a young, lonely trophy wife since it happened the same year in ELEPHANT WALK, and both films are extremely similar: only in WALK the elephants are mentioned a few times leading up to their inevitable attack, while here the ants simply invade as if let loose by a disgruntled crew member allergic to Harlequin-style romance. Still though, somehow, THE NAKED JUNGLE flows decently enough since Haskin's beyond capable at moving humans along what's basically a losing game.

Abraham Sofaer and Eleanor Parker in THE NAKED JUNGLE
Eleanor Parker and Charlton Heston in THE NAKED JUNGLE
Charlton Heston in THE NAKED JUNGLE
Eleanor Parker in THE NAKED JUNGLE
Eleanor Parker and Charlton Heston in THE NAKED JUNGLE
Eleanor Parker in THE NAKED JUNGLE
Eleanor Parker and Charlton Heston in THE NAKED JUNGLE
Eleanor Parker and Charlton Heston in THE NAKED JUNGLE
Charlton Heston in THE NAKED JUNGLE


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