So This Is Africa


1h 1m 1933

Brief Synopsis

Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey play a couple of broke, hungry vaudevillians who are holed up in a hotel room with a few (tame) lions. They are hired by a movie producer who wishes to send them and their lions to Africa with a great naturalist, in order to make a jungle picture. An earlier expedition by this same naturalist was a failure, because she is afraid of animals. They all head to Africa and the lions are not mentioned again. Once in the jungle they have to fend off the amorous advances of the naturalist, of a vine-swinging native girl, and of a gorilla. They then run into the fearsome Amazon tribe, made up entirely of nubile females. Eventually they disguise themselves as Amazons to avoid being "loved to death." But these disguises lead to further difficulties when the all-male tribe of Tarzans show up for their annual mating ritual with the Amazons.

Film Details

Also Known As
In the Jungle, That's Africa
Genre
Comedy
Adventure
Release Date
Feb 24, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Alexander Woolsey and Wilbur Wheeler, an incompetent vaudeville team, perform their act for an indifferent audience at the Savoy Theatre in New York City. When their performing lions fail to execute their tricks properly, the team calls for a doctor, who prescribes a rest cure for the lions. Meanwhile, the president of Ultimate Pictures tells the Board of Directors that Mrs. Johnson Martini, a specialist on the jungles of Africa, has been to that country to film an animal picture, but has returned empty-handed. As she explains to the board that she is afraid of animals, a young office boy named Johnny enters and suggests using Wheeler and Woolsey's trained lions in the picture. Later that afternoon, the president of Ultimate visits Wheeler and Woolsey and offers them the job with Mrs. Martini, which they accept. In Africa, Woolsey takes a walk with Mrs. Martini and they kiss, whereupon she becomes a passionate maniac. While Woolsey is out of the tent, Wheeler begins to sleep walk. When Tarzana, an Amazon woman, sees that he is being followed by some vicious lions, she rescues him and takes him to her tree house, where she kisses him. The next morning, Wheeler arrives at the tree house, where Tarzana's pet gorilla Josephine takes a liking to him and kisses him. Mrs. Martini finds Wheeler at the tree house and becomes jealous of the gorilla. Tarzana grabs a vine and carries Wheeler to another tree. Then Josephine grabs Woolsey and follows. As Mrs. Martini tries to follow them by climbing from branch to branch, the group is spotted by an Amazon, who signals to others on her drum. The couples return to Mrs. Martini's tree, around which the Amazons gather. They chop the tree down, and take Wheeler, Woolsey and Mrs. Martini to their camp. Mrs. Martini explains that at night, the fierce side of an Amazon comes out and she becomes amorous to the point of killing her mate. The three dance with the Amazons, while Mrs. Martini begs Wheeler and Woolsey to attempt an escape. Suddenly, an eclipse blots out the sun and the Amazons become amorous. Woolsey escapes but is captured and brought back to the camp, while Wheeler and Mrs. Martini try to dress themselves like Amazons. The Amazons form a circle around Woolsey, and take turns kissing him. Tarzana brings each Amazon up to Woolsey, who must choose his bride from among them. Seeing through Wheeler's disguise, Woolsey picks him and they are taken to the bridal hut for their honeymoon. Inside, Mrs. Martini helps Wheeler to dress like an Amazon as well, just as the eclipse ends, and the Amazons return to normal. They recognize Wheeler and Woolsey and advance with their spears. Just then, a pack of Tarzans approaches and Mrs. Martini explains that every year the Tarzans come and kidnap the Amazons, making them their wives. Two Tarzans pick up Wheeler and Woolsey and carry them off to a hut. One year later, Wheeler and Woolsey discuss clothes washing detergents as the dutiful wives of two Tarzans.

Film Details

Also Known As
In the Jungle, That's Africa
Genre
Comedy
Adventure
Release Date
Feb 24, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

More!
- Tarzana
Hey!
- Wilbur
Hey!
- ECHO
Stop!
- Wilbur
Stop!
- ECHO
Where were you last night? What happened? Whose fault was it? Answer me yes or no!
- Alexander
Yes.
- Wilbur
Just as I expected. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
- Alexander
I was up a tree.
- Wilbur
Yeah? What were you doing?
- Alexander
I was doing all right.
- Wilbur
What a lovely gown! That certainly is pretty.
- Alexander
You think it becoming?
- Mrs. Johnson Martini
It'll be coming off any minute now!
- Alexander

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were In the Jungle and That's Africa. According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, New York censors and the National Board of Review rejected this film in February 1933. An interoffice letter between the MPPDA and AMPP notes that the film contained highly offensive sexual situations. According to a news item in Motion Picture Daily, comprehensive deletions were effected by the studio in order to make the film acceptable by Production Code standards. Although reviews note that several songs are in the film, the song titles are not cited in contemporary sources. According to Motion Picture Herald, a subtitle explains the gag of the "Tarzans" taking away Wheeler and Woolsey. Contemporary reviewers noted that the character "Mrs. Johnson Martini" satirized noted explorer-filmmaker Osa Johnson, although reviewers disagree on the exact name used in the film; some call the character "Mrs. Martinez Johnson." The VarB review, indicating the preview ran 90 min., anticipated that approximately 1,500 ft. would be cut from the film. The VarB also notes that stock footage was obtained from the 1930 Columbia documentary Africa Speaks, produced by explorer Paul L. Hoefler (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0049).