Duel in the Jungle
|Duel in the Jungle|
1954 US film poster
|Directed by||George Marshall|
|Written by||Sam Marx|
|Box office||£205,010 (UK)|
Duel in the Jungle is a 1954 British Independent adventure film combining the detective film with the jungle adventure genres directed by George Marshall and starring Dana Andrews, Jeanne Crain and David Farrar.
American insurance investigator Scott Walters is sent to London to interview businessman Perry Henderson about his US$2 million insurance policy leaving his elderly mother as sole beneficiary. Walters meets and is taken with Perry's personal secretary Marian Taylor but wishes to speak to Perry. His brother Arthur Henderson explains that Perry is deep sea diving of the coast of Portuguese East Africa but doesn't tell Walters he is after deposits of diamonds on the sea bed. Alarmed by the danger, Walters tells Arthur to make Perry stop all dangerous activities or he will forfeit his policy.
Walters attempts to romance Marian, but when he is rebuffed he returns to America. Boarding the plane, he sees a newspaper headline that Perry was swept overboard off the SS Nigeria during a storm when the ship was off Lourenço Marques. Walters leaves the plane to inform Marian but her landlady is cleaning her recently vacated flat saying that Marian flew off to South Africa. His suspicions aroused, Walter flies to South Africa where he attempts to book passage on the SS Nigeria, a coastal tramp steamer. Walter finds the ship has departed, but he flies to Beira to board her there where he books accommodation sharing a compartment with Pitt, an English salesman.
During a storm Pitt and Walters are the only passengers well enough to leave their cabin to dine with the ship's captain. Keeping his occupation a secret, Walters attempts to question the Captain about Perry's death that infuriates the Captain. Walters suspicions are further aroused when he discovers that the only witnesses to Perry's death were employees of his firm, which also owned the SS Nigeria. The next day Perry finds a secret compartment aboard ship and finds a cigarette butt on the compartment's floor bearing the markings of Perry's bespoke cigarettes. Walter also discovers Marian is a passenger aboard. Marian informs the captain that she does not want Walters to bother her.
During a storm the next night Pitt borrows Walter's trench coat to go outside. One of the crew coshes Pitt and attempts to throw him overboard but his efforts are stopped when Marian screams. Walters deduces the crewman mistook Pitt for himself and wanted him dead. When Marian goes ashore the crew attempt to keep Walters on board but he literally jumps ship and tracks Marian to Northern Rhodesia. A safari is taking her into the jungle where she supposedly is going to meet Perry's mother. With the help of a police superintendent, Walters meets Perry's mother in the town and has no idea she is to meet Marian. Walters pursues Marian to discover the truth about Perry where he faces a variety of assassination attempts involving lions and the waters of Victoria Falls.
- Dana Andrews - Scott Walters
- Jeanne Crain - Marian Taylor
- David Farrar - Perry Henderson / Arthur Henderson
- Patrick Barr - Superintendent Roberts
- George Coulouris - Captain Malburn
- Charles Goldner - Martell
- Wilfrid Hyde-White - Pitt
- Mary Merrall - Mrs Henderson
- Heather Thatcher ... Lady on the Niagara
- Michael Mataka ... Vincent
- Paul Carpenter ... Clerk
- Delphi Lawrence ... Pan American Girl
- Mary Mackenzie ... Junior Secretary
- Bee Duffell ... Irish Landlady
- Alec Finter ... Waiter
- Patrick Parnell ... Wireless Operator
- John Salew ... Clerk - Henderson's Office
- Walter Gotell ... Jim
- Bill Fraser ... Smith - Hotel Clerk
- Lionel Ngakane ... Servant (as Lionel MacKane)
- Robert Sansom ... Steward
- Michael Mataka ... Vincent
- Production Dates: 24 Aug-early Dec 1953
- Although the copyright states that the screenplay was based on an original story by S. K. Kennedy, a July 1953 Variety article reports that screenwriters Samuel Marx and Tommy Morrison used a German novel originally published in 1942 as its source.
- Portions of the film were shot in South Africa at Port Elizabeth, Bechuanaland, Victoria Falls and Johannesburg. An October 1953 Daily Variety news item stated that scenes were shot at Krueger National Park.
- During production, this was the last film for assistant director Anthony Kelly. He died when he was thrown from his overturned canoe into a whirlpool on the Zambesi River and then into the jaws of crocodiles (Not True. His body was never found and one of the theories is that he was eaten by crocodiles after he drowned whilst trying to save the camera equipment in the upturned boat.)
- The Hollywood Reporter review noted that after audiences at a 29 July 1954 Los Angeles preview jeered at the film's ending, Warner Bros. re-edited the final scenes. The Variety review lists the running time of the British release as 105 minutes; reviews of the American version list the running time as 98 min
- Michael Mataka who sings the song The Night Belongs to Me became the first native African to become commissioner of the Zambian Police.
- Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p504