Mar 23, 2011

"The Naked Jungle" or how to make an entertaining...mess

I know today wasn't very a very joyful day, but I'll try to write something funny to cheer you up. Last night I saw "The Naked Jungle" (Byron Haskin; 1954) and I learnt a lot about how to write an entertaining script based in a) the attraction of the main characters b) a wild natural menace. 

Just TEN easy steps!
1. Locate the picture in a very remote place. Like in a jungle in South America, inhabited by natives who give their children to strangers because they have too many. 

2. Introduce the main characters, making clear that wild things could happen between them. For example, invent that Charlton Heston, the guy living in the jungle, ordered a wife by mail (really) and Eleanor Parker answered. Not very believable, but works.

3. About the horrible natural menace: you should make clear that something very awful and deadly is going to happen. Make some random characters look to horizon and say cryptic lines like: "There have been many such birds lately. My government wants to know all about these birds." and then add "I hope it remains so, only a mystery."

4. Reinforce the idea that very wild things could happen between the main characters. Some examples: a)  make Eleanor Parker wear a very revealing pajama for the first time she says hello to her sweaty husband. b) give her lines like "I'm not undressed" or dialogs like this:

--I knew you needed me.
--I don't need anyone. 
--Not even for children?

Get the idea?

5. Now, we need an opposed force to the energy we just created. Let's say that Charlton founds out that Eleanor was married before and becomes angry and starts to make hurtful remarks. Examples: "The only condition I ever made about anything I brought up the river was that it be new" or "Madam, this piano you're sitting at was never played by anyone before it came here". Ouch. The idea is that he now hates her. But really loves her. These two last sentences could be mathematically explained in this equation: 

Energy + opposed force = ?

6. Oh, don't forget the horrible natural menace. Keep adding lines by random characters. "Something wrong with that bird. Hasn't said a word for three days..." Really effective. Kind of creepy. Makes the audience wonder. 

7. Back to the equation. The audience is expecting to see the final result (?). Let's give them some additional elements. For example, a physical confrontation, including a very drunk Charlton and Eleanor back in her pajamas (yes something like the scene from "Gone with the wind").
At the end nothing has to really happen, or the energy will be lost. Let's Charlton restrain himself, leave his wife's bedroom, but not before revealing something very meaningful:

 "I told you I was 18 when I came out here. Before that, I had no time for women. Afterwards... In the jungle, they have a name for the man who goes into the native villages at night. No one calls me by that name. You said I didn't know anything about women. You were right, madam. I know nothing about women. Nothing at all."

Exactly. He needs her.

8.  Keep boosting each element of the equation. Charlton decides to send Eleanor back to New Orleans (opposed force). He will give her a lift in his boat and then continue to investigate what's happening in the jungle, because something is driving the animals out and he thinks "it's something big". Oh, before they go, Charlton must change his attitude (energy), being more friendly, starting to call his wife for her first name, showing his sensitive side and saying things like :

--You don't dislike me anymore?
-- I never did.

9. As you can see, we're approaching to the climax. In the trip a) They must discover that the mortal natural menace is the MARABUNTA (the ants must seem like a huge shadow covering the hills leaving only destruction) b) the main characters have to be seen with less clothes and sweaty. A medicine rubbing scene would help:

(EDIT: sorry folks, Youtube couldn't handle the heat and the video is not longer available. Get a copy of the film to see it!)

Then, obviously Eleanor is staying with Charlton, even when she knows she could die.

10. To end the entertaining mess you'll need: a) A big plan to detain the MARABUNTA and scenes of natives fighting with them b) Leave alone the main characters in the house expecting the hungry MARABUNTA (and finally having their honeymoon). c) Charlton finally defeating the MARABUNTA and the main characters embracing. THE END.

(Interested in this entertaining mess? It's on Amazon: The Naked Jungle)


  1. This is brilliant and hilarious, Clara!! I adore this film because of all the ridiculous it contains. You know the scene where Heston sloshes perfume all over Eleanor and then kisses her neck and shoulders? UGH, but perfume tastes so nasty!! Not good, not good. But, I love the film, nevertheless! ;D

  2. Thanks Sophie! Even when it was very ridiculous, I had fun watching it too :) And yeah, the perfume scene, LOL, I thought the same! Besides the smell must be really intense, and I'm allergic, so I thought I'll be dying with so many perfume around :)

    Thanks for stopping by, girl!

  3. "many perfume" = huge grammar mistake. When I'm going to learn???????

  4. This films sounds kind of awful and hilarious at the same time. Great post! :)

  5. I adore this movie. It's so bloody bizarre and brilliant. The plot is a bit uneven, Eleanor Parker oozes class and sophistication, the dialog is strangely sultry, and Charlton's just obsessed with his chocolate plantation.

    Sheesh, maybe I'm just too crazy about Eleanor. She's one actress I can watch in almost ANYTHING. ;D

  6. Emm: I enjoyed watching the movie, but I was thinking all the time in her performance in "Caged" and I went like "OMG, she's the same actress, can't believe how different the two movies are". It was kind of weird watching her in such a bizarre film, but fun anyway.
    Uhm, besides "Caged", the movies from Eleanor I've seen are "The sound of music", (obviously) "Scaramouche", "Never said goodbye", "Detective Story" (loved it). Which others would you recommend? Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. Audrey: Yes, it's so bizarre and the way they manipulate the audience so obvious that's really fun to see. I wouldn't say it's awful, it's entertaining mess :) Thanks for your compliment, oh, and you should definitively see it if you need to spend an hour watching something not so serious, but entertaining.

  8. Love your review. Always liked this film.



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