Meteorium!!! It is the one element that can be a defense against the atom bomb, which was unleashed in August of 1945 to bring an end to World War II. Now, at the dawn of the nuclear age, the forces of good and evil are in a race to obtain and control it.
That is the premise of Universal Pictures 1946 13-chapter serial, Lost City of the Jungle, from the directing team of Lewis D. Collins and Ray Taylor. This directing team — as with their counter-parts at Republic (William Witney and John English) — delivered such serial gems as The Master Key, Jungle Queen, Don Winslow of the Coast Guard and more.
The script is from famed super-hero screenwriter Joseph Poland, who wrote such classics as Spy Smasher, Adventures of Captain Marvel, Atom Man vs. Superman, Batman and Robin … over 140 screen credits dating all the way back to the dawn of silent films in 1913.
Word arrived from VCI Entertainment this past week that a newly-minted 2K film restoration of Lost City of the Jungle will be available as a Blu-ray release on Sept. 17.
The “United Peace Foundation” (which in retrospect sounds almost like a Communist front organization) represents the good guys in the post-World War II era, while Sir Eric Hazarias (played by Lionel Atwill, who was unable to complete the shooting schedule and died four days before the serial’s debut in April of 1946) is out to obtain the only known source of Meteorium in the remote Himalayan area called Pendrang … unlike the majestic Mt. Everest that we associate with the Himalayas, this is a dense jungle region with its capital being Zalabar.
His goal is not a noble one, but is driven by a lust for power. He dupes archeologist Dr. Elmore (played John Eldredge) into helping him find the legendary “lost city,” where a “Glowing Goddess” is hidden (the glow comes from Meteorium) … remember this is 1946, but it has many of the same elements that Raiders of the Lost Ark contained some 35 years later.
Dispatched to stop Hazarias is agent Rod Stanton (Russell Hayden), who teams up with local agent Tal Shan (Keye Luke) and eventually gets Elmore’s daughter Marjorie (Jane Adams — House of Dracula and as Vicki Vale in Batman and Robin) on board.
12 cliffhanging episodes capped by all sorts of moments of certain death reach a final resolution in chapter 13, which is chilling titled “Atomic Vengeance.” Lost City of the Jungle on Blu-ray … Sept. 17, mark the date on your calendar now!!!