Beasts of the Jungle (1913)



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Edward Warren


Alice Guy

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25 May 2011 | boblipton
| I Tawt I Taw a Putty Tat
Alice Guy wrote and produced this movie.She deserves a lot of respect. She was not just the first woman director, she was the first director period. However, while she was always interesting in terms of the technical aspects of film, her mise-en-scene (as she was French, I can use that term without blushing) was archaic and her story-telling and editing remained very basic.

In this one, Minnie discovers a tiger and takes it home. If any daughter of mine -- or, I hope yours -- showed up with a Bengal tiger, announcing "It followed me home. Can I keep it?" I would, after screaming, climbing on the roof, calling for animal control, shooting it and shipping Minnie off to the insane asylum -- in whatever order each action occurred to me -- have a very stiff drink.

Not Minnie's folks! Several weeks later they are happily living with this enormous carnivore who subsists entirely on milk, and when daddy heads off to South Africa to build a railroad, the family goes along -- and the tiger, too.

In Africa, the railroad building is impeded by a man-eating lion -- one native a night. They set out to shoot the lion, only to discover that the bullets are all blanks -- no one noticed before, despite "Blank Cartridges" being stenciled on the box. So they go home to the shack, where the lion breaks in while they cower in the back room -- maybe the beast has his own key -- until they decide to send the tiger to fetch help.

Anyway, back it comes with help and, using the blank cartridges, they chivvy the lion into a trap, then burn down the house while letting him go. This will teach him to stay away; these people are crazy.

It's an idiotic story, of interest mostly for the big cats and an elephant at the beginning. There's also a nice split screen effect while the lion has them under siege and the print is nicely tinted. Which is why I haven't rated this a '1'. If you're a silent film fanatic, by all means, see it - it's currently posted on the Eastman House site -- but don't let the casual viewer know about it.

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Release Date:

January 1913



Country of Origin


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