AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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King of the Jungle
Alternate Title: The Lion's Way
Director: H. Bruce Humberstone (Dir)
Release Date:   10 Mar 1933
Production Date:   late Sep--early Nov 1932
Duration (in mins):   65 or 73
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Buster Crabbe (Kaspa)  
    Frances Dee (Ann Rogers)  
    Sidney Toler (Neil Forbes)  
    Nydia Westman (Sue)  
    Robert Barrat (Joe Nolan)  
    Irving Pichel (Corey)  
    Douglas Dumbrille (Ed Peters)  
    Sam Baker (Gwana)  
    Patricia Farley (Kitty)  
    Ronnie Cosbey (Kaspa, aged 3)  
    Robert Adair (John C. Knolls)  
    Florence Britton (Mrs. Edith Knolls)  
    Leonard Carey (Clerk)  
    Warner Richmond (Gus)  
    William J. Kelly (Government inspector)  
    Mabel Stark    
    Thomas Amos    
    William Dunn    
    Harold Farley    
    George Turner    
    Sam Farrell    
    F. M. Pitts    

Summary: In Africa, John and Edith Knolls take their little boy into lion country for a photographic expedition, but both parents are killed by lions. The precocious boy keeps his father's hunting knife and is reared by lions as if he were their own cub. Years later, he is able to communicate with the lions by roaring. When the young man helps the lions raid a cattle ranch, he is caught and sold to an American circus along with his lion family. Neil Forbes, the manager of the circus, names the young man Kaspa, and has him shipped to San Francisco. Upon docking, Kaspa, wearing only a leopard skin, dives into the bay. When he finally swims ashore, he is chased through a park and into a private home, where he startles Ann Rogers and her roommate, Sue. The police arrive and Ann accompanies Kaspa back to the circus, where she is invited to travel with the circus to educate him. As they become better acquainted, Kaspa and Ann fall in love. After Gus, a member of the circus, taunts a lion, he loses his arm and later plots to kill the animal. Kaspa quits the circus because he wants to return the animals to Africa, but in the meantime, Gus gives poisoned meat to the lion who mauled him. Forbes catches him, and in the ensuing struggle, a lamp falls over and the tent catches fire. After Gus is arrested, the whole circus goes up in flames, causing a panic, but Kaspa rushes in and saves the lions. He then returns to Africa with Ann, and together they set the lions free. 

Production Company: Paramount Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Productions, Inc.  
Director: H. Bruce Humberstone (Dir)
  Max Marcin (Dir)
Producer: E. Lloyd Sheldon (Assoc prod)
Writer: Philip Wylie (Scr)
  Fred Niblo Jr. (Scr)
  Max Marcin (Adpt)
Photography: Ernest Haller (Photog)
  Gordon Jennings (Trick photog)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel The Lion's Way: A Story of Men and Lions by Charles Thurley Stoneham (London, 1931).
Authors: Charles Thurley Stoneham

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Productions, Inc. 9/3/1933 dd/mm/yyyy LP3710 Yes

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Noiseless Recording

 
Genre: Adventure
Sub-Genre: Jungle
 
Subjects (Major): Africa
  Circuses
  Foundlings
  Lions
 
Subjects (Minor): Animal traps
  Chases
  Death by animals
  Fires
  Hunters
  Jungles
  Ranches
  Romance
  San Francisco (CA)

Note: The working title of the film was The Lion's Way . Larry "Buster" Crabbe, the 1932 Olympic gold medalist swimmer, made his starring debut in this film. A HR news item noted that USC football player Orv Muller tested for the lead, and also noted that "Paramount's boot black, Oscar" was included among a cast of six hundred extras. HR production charts credit Douglas Doty, Vincent Lawrence, Cyril Hume and Jules White with contributing to the screenplay, however, their contribution to the final film has not been determined. Although the film's pressbook and reviews list Robert Adair's character as "John C. Knolls," the name "James C. Knolls" is seen on a hunting certificate in the opening of the film. The pressbook noted that animal trainer Mabel Stark handled the "cats" and appeared in the film, and animal authority Jules White also assisted in the film. News items in HR note that stampeding elephants injured several stunt men during production, and that Crabbe was bitten on the leg by a tiger, but did not suffer serious injury. Information in the Jack Mintz Collection at the AFI library indicates that some scenes were shot on location in Mexico, and in Chatsworth, Santa Catalina Island, San Pedro, Laguna and San Francisco, CA. According to modern sources, Max Baer was considered for the role of "Kaspa." 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   25 Feb 33   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Oct 32   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Oct 32   p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Nov 32   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Feb 33   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald   4 Mar 33   pp. 48-49.
New York Times   25 Feb 33   p. 20.
Variety   28 Feb 33   p. 15.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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