Sabaka (February 2, 1955)
Released February 2, 1955: When the High Priestess of the fire god Sabaka orders his family killed, a young elephant trainer swears revenge.
Directed by Frank Ferrin
Written by Frank Ferrin.
The Actors: Nino Marcel (Gunga Ram), Boris Karloff (General Pollegar), Reginald Denny (Sir Cedric), June Foray (Marku Ponjoy, the High Priestess of Sabaka), Lou Krugman (Maharajah of Bakore), Victor Jory (Ashok), Jay Novello (Damji), Lisa Howard (Indira), Peter Coe (Taru), Paul Marion (Kumar), Vito Scotti (Rama), Louis Merrill (Koobah), Jeanne Bates (Durga), and K.K. Sinha (the fire dancer), Lawrence Dobkin (General Pollegar's aide).
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When I was a young boy, exotic adventure on a Saturday afternoon meant a Johnny Weissmuller "Tarzan" movie, with a small cast of characters, a simple story line, and a funny monkey. But today I take you to a place that in 1955 was seldom seen by young American boys and girls - the mysterious and complicated world of the Hindu of India. We will enjoy the opulent gilded palace of His Highness the Maharajah of Bakore, Bengal tigers will enthrall us instead of African lions. Huge, beautiful elephants, and awesome and deadly-looking cobra snakes will take our breath away. Toss in a handsome young Indian boy hero, a corrupt Military General (Boris Karloff), and an evil Fire-Goddess (June Foray) who leads a cult of fire-demon worshipers, and we have an adventure that makes Tarzan look feeble.
This motion picture adventure begins with Gunga Ram, a happy young boy that is friends with the benevolent Maharajah ever since his father once saved the life of the Maharaja. He trains elephants, and has a pet Bengal tiger. All is well as we watch the exotic Indian way of life. But in the jungle, away from the city, there is a fire-goddess,Marku Ponjoy, the High Priestess of Sabaka, and her followers. They are having a bit of trouble getting the poor people to follow them.
Our young elephant trainer Gunga has a sister that is married and with child, and she promises to name the child 'Gunga' after her young brother if it is a boy. But as Gunga is visiting them, they talk of the fire-godess in a negative way, and one of the faithful overhears them. One of the High Priestess of Sabaka's assistants wants to kill the family, but she warns him that if they kill a woman with child that the military will not be pleased and will hinder their religion. They burn down the house anyway and kill Gunga's sister. Gunga is very sad, and swears vengeance on the people that killed his sister. Gunga discovers who the Fire-Goddess and her assistants are, but the corrupt General makes sure that things do not go well for Gunga and he is tossed out of the Maharaja's palace and city. Gunga heads into the jungle in search of the Fire-Goddess, and is captured by the Fire worshipers.
Will Gunga meet the same fiery end that his sister did? Will the evil Fire-Goddess of Sabaka and her followers succeed in tricking the ignorant jungle people into worshiping them? Will Gunga's pet tiger and elephant come to Gunga's rescue? Will you run out of popcorn before Gunga fights and kills a wild tiger with his bare hands? Will you have more fun watching this jungle adventure from India than a barrel full of monkeys? Only the Maharajah can say for sure . . .