Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) sees a raft overturn in the rapids of a river. He saves Anne Lawrence (Sheila Ryan) from drowning. Anne is a freelance photographer looking for Bob Miller (Robert Waterfield) on behalf of Bob’s uncle. Bob was a famous football player and a war pilot. He was reported missing in action when his plane went down over the jungle. That was nine years ago. Anne doesn’t really have any hope of finding Bob so she is photographing her search to make a documentary and hopefully sell it.
Jim gets a message that there have been some attacks on the local villages. They say the warring tribe is run by a white man. Not knowing whether or not Bob is involved Anne joins Jim at a meeting of the tribal chiefs. According to the chiefs, skeleton men come out of the jungle. Then the warriors from the skeleton tribe attack. They kill the women and children and take the men. The chiefs want Jim to lead an army of warriors from the tribes to stop the skeleton men and the evil warriors. Jim first wants to scout the area to find out how many men are in the evil tribe. Anne and the chief of the Matusa tribe, Bono (Rick Vallin), go with him.
Eventually they come face to face with the skeleton men and the evil tribe. They are saved by a man who turns out to be Bob Miller. Miller has been living with a peaceful tribe and has been doing a few things to improve the tribe’s way of life. When the tribe he takes care of is attacked Bob is fully on board to stop the skeleton men and the white man who is behind it.
Deep in the jungle Dr. Mitchell Heller (Lyle Talbot) has discovered a rare rock that contains radioactive properties. Using a formula he has found a way to turn the rock into manmade diamonds. To extract the rock he needs slave labor. After a few days of working the miners end up succumbing to radiation sickness from the rock. Heller needs a steady supply of laborers so he has been raiding the surrounding villages. It’s not long before Jim, Anne, Bono and Tom end up in the clutches of Heller and his evil tribe.
“Jungle Jim: Jungle Manhunt” was released in 1951 and was directed by Lew Landers. It is a Jungle Adventure film starring Johnny Weissmuller and is the seventh of sixteen Jungle Jim movies produced by Columbia Pictures. The Jungle Jim movies may be mostly fluff and empty calories but Columbia managed to crank out sixteen of them in the span of about six or seven years.
The football star Bob Miller is played by real-life football quarterback Robert Waterfield. Waterfield played for the Cleveland Rams and Los Angeles Rams. He was head coach for the Los Angeles Rams. Waterfield was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. He also appeared in a few movies and produced a few with his then wife Jane Russell. Russell had been his childhood sweetheart.
Stock footage includes the shark and octopus fight seen in many movies including “Plan Nine from Outer Space” 1959 and “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” 1953. Spoiler: The octopus loses and Jim fights the shark. I guess then they both lose and just Jim wins. Also included, out of nowhere, is one of the fake dinosaur attacks from “One Million B.C.” 1940. As a special treat Bob the quarterback has come up with a football shaped explosive device that he throws like a forward pass.