Tanganyika

I wonder how many ever saw this film or remember it. Van Heflin starred in a very good African jungle adventure.

As a very young teenager I saw this film in St. Albans where we spent our summer holidays each year – and very good it was there too !!

and still is – no doubt but sadly my holidays are not there anymore.

Made in Hollywood by Universal Pictures, TANGANYIKA  released in the USA in the summer of 1954  has its action taking  place in 1903 in the territory of East Africa  and  Tanganyika. The story centres on a hunt for a fugitive white man who’s stirred up the “Nukumbi” tribe of natives into making raids on white settlements and outposts.   Leading  the hunt is  John Gale (Van Heflin) who leads a group of native porters from East Africa into Tanganyika.   On the way he picks up Peggy Marion (Ruth Roman), a schoolteacher from Canada, and her young niece and nephew (Noreen Corcoran, Gregory Marshall), after rescuing them from a native attack that killed Peggy’s brother. He also picks up a wounded white man, Dan Harder (Howard Duff) who, we learn early on, is the brother of the renegade white man, although he keeps that little fact a secret.   Gale leads the party back to his camp to drop off the whites only to find it plundered and his partner Duffy (Murray Alper) dead. So they all forge on into Tanganyika to locate the village where Abel McCracken (Jeff Morrow), the wanted white man, holds court and rules the natives.

Plenty of action follows and it is exciting.

Much of the film was shot in or around Hollywood with stock footage cleverly cut in – and the result was very effective.

Above – Ruth Roman seems in a spot of bother !

It is not a film that is available on DVD although I do have a copy.

Jeff Morrow

Jeff Morrow started out as a radio and stage actor thenturned to film acting relatively late in his career, commencing with the The Robe in 1953.          He spent much of the 1950s appearing  in a  mix of   A-budget  epics  in supporting parts,  or B Westerns such a The Siege of Red River (1954)   Morrow carried over much of his acting persona from his radio days to his film acting roles, where his ability to rapidly alter both the tone and volume of his voice for dramatic effect frequently gave sound editors fits. He entered the science fiction genre with the 1955 film This Island Earth  probably the film he is best known and then The Creature Walks Among Us, The Giant Claw, and Kronos. I have to say that although it is a while since I saw The Giant Claw it does have the most laughable special effects and ludicrous story but is great fun !!

The Giant Claw is one of the best so-bad-it’s-good movies of the 1950′s. When you first see the giant wooden puppet bird, you won’t be able to curb your laughter , even though it isn’t supposed to be a comedy.
The cast includes 50s sci-fi regulars Jeff Morrow (This Island Earth), Morris Ankrum (Invaders From Mars)and Mara Corday (Tarantula).

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