Blonde Savage (1947)
By: Captain Red Eye on July 5, 2010  | 
Alpha Video | Region 1, NTSC | 4:3 | English DD 2.0 | 62 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Steve Sekely
Starring: Leif Erickson, Gale Sherwood, Veda Ann Borg, Douglas Dumbrille
Screenplay: Gordon Bache
Country: USA
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Blonde Savage opens with Steve Blake (Leif Erickson) barging into the office of a well-to-do lawyer in 'Senobi, Africa' and promptly informing him that he may need to be defended on a murder charge. The lawyer, Bennett, logically asks if Blake has actually killed anyone. 'Well not yet,' replies a breezy Erickson, 'but I may have to. I suggest you listen to my story.' Despite Bennett's ultimatum that this lumbering halfwit depart immediately, Blake simply descends on the nearest armchair, puts his feet up, and begins recounting the tale that comprises this wonderfully shambolic outing.

The reminiscence begins with Blake canoodling with a date played by the luscious Cay Forrester, whose career, for reasons that elude me, was confined almost entirely to uncredited walk-ons in unremarkable fare such as Smash Up: The Story of a Woman. This amorous encounter prompts what is surely one of the least-likely exchanges in cinematic history:

Forrester: You didn't learn to kiss like that in Africa.

Erickson: Uh uh. I used to play trombone in the school band. I'm just giving you the first 32 bars of the William Tell overture.

Forrester: Well, play the next 32 baby.

Erickson: Mm, now I know what made William tell.

Thankfully at this point Blake's pal Hoppy (Frank Jenks) saunters in with a business proposal. It seems the pair, who operate a small air freight concern, have been offered several thousand dollars to do some dirty work for Mark Harper, a wealthy and decidedly ruthless mining magnate operating out of the jungle. He wants a local tribe who are threatening his holdings subdued. After much hammy acting and clumsily inserted stock footage Steve and Hoppy crash land in the tribe's vicinity, where they are startled to realise the natives are ruled by a tawny-haired white woman named Meelah (the long-forgotten Gale Sherwood). It subsequently unfolds that that she is the daughter of a business associate murdered by Harper, and upon being left for dead was raised from infancy by a jungle tribe. Revenge, romance and some impromptu but highly effective English lessons ensue.

Leif Erickson was an interesting guy. He named himself for a 10th century Norse explorer, was once married to Frances Farmer and took four years off acting so he could serve in World War II, where he was twice wounded. All chiselled jawline, Brylcreem and padded jackets, he wasn't much of an actor, though compared to Jenks he's Laurence Olivier. Sherwood spends most of her screen time muttering in her best Ooga Booga impersonation of tribal dialect, until Erickson spends five minutes teaching her the finer points of the English language, after which time she is able to converse fairly fluently. In a spirit of reciprocity Meelah shows off some tribal dance moves which consist of her flailing about with all the élan of an epileptic in the midst of a grand mal seizure, much to the delight of the by-now smitten Blake. Then some more corny dialogue ensues before a killer boa constrictor saunters by, resembling nothing so much as a door sausage being pulled along by a string, which for all I know it might have been. It's fantastic.
Picture quality is a little rough in places with plenty of scratches and assorted artefacts, but it's not enough to detract from the film too noticeably and all up this is a marked improvement on previous versions.
Perfectly respectable. Some editions have a loud hiss and other imperfections throughout; these appear to have been corrected here.
Extra Features
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Blonde Savage is undoubtedly one of the more inept efforts ever captured on celluloid, with clunky performances, excruciating repartee, choppy editing and a nonsensical premise. By any objective measure it is a bad film. That being said, I can't get enough of it. It's a lot of fun, and certainly qualifies as a camp classic of forgotten cinema.

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