For experimental filmmaker Richard Myers, the 1940’s Republic serial JUNGLE GIRL represents a turning point in Hollywood history, the first place where cheesy entertainment and the more potent language of dreams met. In this modernist version of the old Republic serial, he mingles clips from JUNGLE GIRL with the off-screen reminiscences of its star. Frances Gifford, who was forced to give up acting after a bad car accident and a subsequent nervous breakdown. In addition, Myers recreates scenes from the serial. His friends Mary and Jake Leed dressed as JUNGLE GIRL characters, wander through deserted warehouses, movie theaters, assorted industrial landscapes and magical hinterlands. This approach is occasionally tedious, but it allows for beautiful and mysterious dream images, as well as moving ruminations on the nature of cinema and on the ethereal nature of life itself.”

Joseph Bensova, Los Angeles Herald Examiner

For those film buffs with memories of the 1941 Republic Pictures serial JUNGLE GIRL, starring Frances Gifford as Nyoka and Tom Neal as Stanton, Richard Myers’ tongue-in-cheek tribute and remake employing the same title will be a treat. Myers’ JUNGLE GIRL was inspired by a chance look-see again at the Republic serial, which Myers had seen as a nine-year-old at his neighborhood theater. The fact that the old hardtop was about to be demolished by wreckers undoubtedly meant to him the loss of a childhood dream place. It spurred, too, a personal inquiry into the fate of Frances Gifford. Shortly after this popular serial, she signed a contract with MGM, but then found her career cut short by a tragic auto accident in 1948. Now pretty much forgotten and living in California, the former star agreed to meet with an ardent admirer, Myers, and this film was made. Gifford does not appear in JUNGLE GIRL; her role and that of Stanton are interpreted in a modern-day context by Mary and Jake Leed. Myers’ own mother adds an extra touch by speaking of past movie-going as the Weslin Theater is being torn down. It’s this combination of spoken reminiscences and recreated scenes matching originals that make this a warming homage to Republic and the glory days of the weekend serial.”

Ron Holloway, Variety

Jungle Girl Reviews