Panther Girl Of The Kongo
Released by: Olive Films
Released on: February 21st, 2017.
Director: Franklin Adreon
Cast: Phyllis Coates , Myron Healey, Arthur Space, Roy Glenn
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Jean Evans (Phyllis Coates) - who is referred to as Panther Girl by the natives - is a daring wild life photographer working out of the wilds of Western Africa. Her work for the International Foundation quickly becomes of the utmost importance when a brand new species of massive crayfish is discovered! This means that Jean is now tasked with getting some footage to send back - but when it comes to shooting giant crayfish, that's easier than it sounds. As such, she enlists the aid of her intrepid explorer friend, Larry Sanders (Myron Healey).
Soon enough, the natives, led by Chief Danka (Roy Glenn), are wondering if Larry has magical powers and if he and Panther Girl are capable of taking out the giant crayfish that have been wreaking havoc on the local native populace. If not, they'll probably kick the two of them out, which would put Jean into a bad spot with her employers. What neither she nor anyone else really knows, however, is that there's a mad scientist named Dr. Morgan (Arthur Space) running about who has sinister reasons for getting everyone out of the area - and those reasons involve diamonds! And doggone it, if he has to create a bunch of giant crayfish to get rid of these pesky natives and their friends to cash in on that stash of gems, he'll do it!
Presented in its original twelve part serial format and running one hundred and sixty-eight minutes in length, Panther Girl Of The Kongo isn't the best serial ever made but it's entertaining enough, particularly if you have an affinity for jungle adventure pictures. Phyllis Coates makes for an amiable and attractive female lead and while she doesn't embrace her 'Panther Girl' identity the way you might hope, she's a fine heroine. We like her, we are interested in her and we want her to win the day. Myron Healey - a real man's man if ever there was one - isn't quite as interesting but he's fine as the beefcake de jour and he and Coates make a decent enough team in this picture. Roy Glenn is horribly miscast as a tribal leader but Arthur Space is pretty fun to watch as the sinister mad doctor responsible for a rash of mutant crustacean attacks!
The action scenes are plentiful enough to keep things exciting, even most of the time it's just a fistfight and little more, while the monster attacks are blast to watch, dated as they may be. This was clearly made fast and cheap like a lot of other serials but Panther Girl isn't without its charm. This isn't deep and it's very definitely a product of its time, but that's half the fun of something like this. Enjoyable enough as a time capsule of sorts, it's hard not to have a good time with this one.
Panther Girl Of The Kongo is presented on Blu-ray in its original 1.37.1 fullframe aspect ratio in an AVC encoded 1080p black and white presentation. Although some minor print damage shows up here and there, the good by far outweighs the bad by a pretty massive margin. Detail is generally very good and while there is some occasional contrast blooming, overall the quality of the black and white image is nice and strong. There are no issues with compression artifacts or edge enhancement nor does there appear to have been an abundance of digital noise reduction applied here. This is nice and film-like, it feels very true to source and it's also quite clean, showing only occasional white specks rather than any substantial print damage.
The DTS-HD Mono track, in English with optional English subtitles, is fine for the most part. Every once in a while you might note some slight sibilance but overall the dialogue is plenty easy to follow and the film's score sounds great. The optional subtitles are easy to read and free of typos.
There are no extras here, just a static menu and chapter selection.
The Final Word:
Panther Girl Of The Kongo is a decent vintage serial offering up a few fun twists and some colorful characters. Olive's Blu-ray release is devoid of any supplemental material but it does look and sound good. All in all, a fun release.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!