Jungle Heat (1957)

Wow, that preview…  just…  wow…

The movie itself was odd but fine.  It’s mostly a counterespionage film with some Japanese spies as the bad guys (finally!).  We’ve got Tarzan against the white woman’s racist husband and a greasy traitor.  The 5th column is mostly just deus ex machina and not particularly villainous.  The real evil is twofold and all white.

That said, it’s weird to see the infidelity being so strongly supported by the plot.  I have no way to explain the setup of a couple flying to beautiful romantic Hawaii for the husband to devolve into such a hateful person that the wife has no recourse but a burgeoning friendship/love with another man with “darker skin” and an affinity for the natives.  Two people falling in love in spy movies isn’t that strange but it’s not always specifically another man’s wife in a romantic getaway area.  It’s not enough that men are to want to be Lex Barker and women are to want to be Mari Blanchard, the men are to specifically desire another man’s wife and the women are to want to stray into another man’s arms.  WTF was going on in late 50’s cinema and marriages?  Greatest generation of adulterers?

It’s a great movie to spot lookalikes to modern actors.  To me, Lex Barker has some very Liev Schreiber characteristics.  James Westerfield is like an ugly brother to Pete Postlethwaite.  Glenn Langan is part Robert Wagner and part Christopher McDonald.

I know this will sound absolutely horrible but my favorite part was the very end when they hear the planes and write the date in the sand.  We know what’s coming but they have no idea.  That eerie foreknowledge can only be filled in by context we provide which means the audience is essential to an understanding of the movie itself as well as the ending.  Well, an educated audience anyways…