The room was abuzz with how awful this movie is, so everyone seemed prepared to expect (and interpret) the worst. I’d seen it before, and the 3-D is fandamntastic, and I don’t see much about it that isn’t typical of movies of the era. In other words, I don’t think it’s terrible at all, and I found the morons desperate to laugh at everything in it pretty annoying.
The story’s the same as The Ghost in the Darkness- both movies are based on the same true story. The Brits have been trying to build a railroad line across Africa using a team of imported Indian workers.
Everything went fine for a couple of hundred miles, but now they’re stopped cold. The workers want to give up. They say a man-eating lion is out there and it’s too dangerous. Looks like they’re right too: men keep turning up eaten.
It’s shot in California with a lot of inserts from the producer’s home movies shot in Africa. So, yeah, there’s a lot of grainy, flat stock footage used for background, but at least it’s not library footage you’ve seen before.
They use several real animals, including lions and monkeys, but they have to use tricks to pull the lion attacks off without hurting people. Some are better than others, and I thought they used their real lions a lot more than looked safe.
The 3-D in this movie, the first one shot in the NaturalVision process, always looks different somehow to me. Different and better. There’s some lovely looking stuff here, especially in the shots of people close to the camera. They look really round and solid.
This was also the first big-name 3-D movie. It was released at Thanksgiving 1952 and kicked off the wave of 3-D that all these movies belong to. It wasn’t the first thing ever in 3-D or anything, but it was the first major release in American theaters, and it did huge numbers. No one had seen anything like it then, and most people haven’t seen it now.
You’ve got to check it out for historical reasons, but I think it’s interesting on its own merits.