In which our intrepid hero notices striking similarities between movies.

A couple of weeks ago, Mim K/W went on a bit of a DVD binge. Having been a huge fan of the adventure genre since I first saw Journey to the Center of the Earth (I was probably too young to talk at the time), I jumped when Mim found an adventure movie box set. Consisting of four double-sided DVDs of old adventure films (20 in all), I just had to pick up a copy—especially considering it cost less than fifteen bucks.

I’ve been cobbling together a gaming-related post, with Edward Finney’s 1947 Queen of the Amazons running in the background. Considering the quality of adventure flicks in the 1930s and 40s, it’s not all that bad, in relative terms.

Then again, it’s not a very high bar that it has to leap. Like its peers, it was horribly written, filled with (what today would be judged) racist sentiment and woefuly miscast.

One scene struck me, however. One of the native guides (I can’t tell whether his name was Bombo or Bongo) was chased down by a young lion. He fled with that expression of abject negro terror that was once (in a darker age) used mostly for comic effect. With canned lion roars overlaying the scene, it also featured incidental music which I recognised immediately.

Forty years later, it would feature in my favourite movie of all time:

I’m not sure what to make of the scene. I guess that Finney was going for suspense when he chose that now-famous music, from the third act of Wagner’s Die Walküre, but the guide’s mock terror and the general tone of movies of the time suggest something altogether less wholesome.

With the benefit of hindsight, living in the post-Apocalypse Now era, I can’t help but suspect that the audience is meant to root for the lion.

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