King of the Wild (1931)

Genres - Adventure  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Set in India, Arabia, and Darkest Africa, this 12-chapter Mascot Pictures serial had been created for Harry Carey and Edwina Booth, the stars of MGM's highly anticipated Trader Horn (1930). That film, however, needed quite a bit of re-tooling and producer Nat Levine had to settle for lesser names Walter Miller and Nora Lane. A top serial leading man of the 1920s, Miller played a soldier of fortune, falsely accused of murder, who tracks the real killer to the jungles of Africa. Once there, he aligns himself with a young girl (Lane), whose brother (Carroll Nye) has stumbled on a secret diamond mine. Boris Karloff, in his fourth and last serial for Mascot, played one of the villain's henchmen. In the serial's second chapter, "Man-Eaters," the future Frankenstein monster flings poor Carroll Nye into a pit containing -- of all things -- the first and only African tiger. The redoubtable Nye survives not only this surprising encounter, but is also confronted with a bizarre half-man, half-beast creature named Bimi and played by Cyril McLaglen, brother of Victor. Containing one of the more eclectic casts in any serial, King of the Wild also featured the delightful Mischa Auer as an escaped lunatic, Laurel and Hardy regular Dorothy Christy as a society dame, veteran action star Tom Santschi as the killer, and real-life explorer/actor Albert DeWinton. In a case of life imitating art, DeWinton disappeared and apparently perished during an expedition to the Amazon River shortly after finishing this serial. King of the Wild was filmed at Yuma, AZ, and Bronson Caverns (the future "Bat-Cave") in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. A seven-reel feature version was released under the title Bimi.



criminal, escape, false-accusation, gangster, honor [recognition], impersonation, imprisonment, infiltration, mercenary, murder