East of Borneo (1931)

“White women are bad enough in their own environment, but when you get them out in the jungle…”

Linda Randolph (Rose Hobart) desperately searches for a trace of her estranged husband, and she travels to the jungles of Borneo to find him. Linda learns he’s living under the assumed name of Dr. Allan Clarke and is the court physician to Hashim (Georges Renavent), Prince of the remote kingdom of Marudu. Undeterred, Linda undertakes the arduous journey into the heart of the jungle.

There are some nice touches to the film. The Sorbonne-education Prince Hashim, who brags he’s a member of the Aryan race, is a decadent ruler who throws the natives to the crocodiles for sport, and then watches through his binoculars as they desperately try to swim to safety. The film’s emphasis is on the cruelty of both nature and man (the prince in this case). Wild animals surround the palace, and they tear apart those foolish enough to try and escape by land. On the other hand, both Allan (Charles Bickford) and Linda are taking their chances if they stay–especially since the prince can’t keep his eyes off of Linda and her low-cut evening dresses.

East of Borneo, directed by George Melford is a pleasant enough diversion, and the palace’s setting is spectacular. Ultimately, however, Linda and Allan are not developed characters, and the best things about the film are the crocodiles and the wicked prince. This Alpha DVD print is decent–with just a little background crackling noise.

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