THE HIDDEN CITY, a/k/a BOMBA AND THE HIDDEN CITY (Monogram, 1950), directed by Ford Beebe, marks the fourth installment to the "Bomba, the Jungle Boy" movie series starring Johnny Sheffield. In one of the better entries in the series, with screenplay by Carroll Young, this edition promises more fast-pace adventure, especially after Bomba finds himself being hunted by someone unknown to him.
Following some jungle camera tracking along wildlife doing their daily routine, the story begins in a jeep where Hadji (Smoki Whitfield), a tour guide, drives museum photographer, Dennis Johnson (Damian O'Flynn), through the jungle as he uses his movie camera to capture images of animal life. Along the way, Johnson notices a white boy vine swinging from tree to tree. Wanting to take further pictures of the legend of Bomba (Johnny Sheffield), the jungle boy soon disappears from a distance. Later, while in what is described as The Hidden City, the story develops with the introduction of Emir Hassen (Paul Guilfoyle), a corrupt leader of the city who had earlier replaced a good governor who was killed, with Emir next in line to take his place. Hoping to improve his life of poor living, Raschid (Leon Belasco), from the neighboring village of Kampini, offers to sell his foster daughter, Zita (Sue England) as part of Emir's household harem girls. Learning about the jungle boy from Johnson, Emir arranges for Abdullah (Charles La Torre) to hunt Bomba and have him killed. Later injured from a knife thrown to his back, Bomba escapes Abdullah and is later found and rescued by Zita, who treats his knife wound. When Bomba notices one of the visitors of Zita's village to be one of the men who knifed him, he escapes into the jungle. As for Zita, who, after meeting the fearful Emir only to learn she is to go with him to become one of his maidens, she, too, escapes into the jungle for Bomba's assistance. Realizing Zita, who has no recollection of her true identity, might be in as much great danger as himself, Bomba allows Zita to be taken back to the hidden city under Emir's corrupt ruling while Bomba, at the risk of being captured himself, watches for her safety from afar and learn the reason for Emir's evil doings.
Johnny Sheffield is fine as the teenage spear carrying jungle boy image taken from the character created by Rock Rockwood's "Bomba" books, while Sue England's is agreeable as Bomba's latest female characters out for his help. As with many jungle adventures such as this, there is a villain, here played by Paul Guilfoyle, who gets the most attention here, with Damian O'Flynn as the good guy out to assist Bomba from his dangerous captures. Smoki Whitfield, who earlier played Eli in the first two "Bomba" installments, assumes a different character name here as Hadji,
Not as well known as the "Tarzan" series of years past, by which Sheffield also participated opposite Johnny Weissmuller through much of the 1940s, THE HIDDEN CITY is a worthy offering in the Bomba series, especially for the Saturday matinee crowd. No known video tape distributions but availability on DVD and cable television exposure over the years, including Turner Network Television (1992), and Turner Classic Movies since 2011. Next installment: THE LION HUNTERS (1951) (**)