June 16, 2017
Mara of the Wilderness.
Review #948: Mara of the Wilderness.
Adam West (Ken Williams), Lori Saunders (Mara Wade), Lelia Walsh (Mara Wade - Age Seven), Denver Pyle (Kelly), Theo Marcuse (Jarnagan), Roberto Contreras (Friday), Eve Brent (Mrs. Wade), Ed Kemmer (First Pilot), and Stuart Walsh (Second Pilot) Directed by Frank McDonald (#835 - Scared Stiff).
The wilderness leaves itself open to a variety of possibilities to set movies around, and this one certainly tries to use its location to make some fair quality entertainment. With this film (also known under the title Valley of the White Wolves), I can say that this is a decent movie that isn't really too special, but the main cast do pretty alright. West does a capable job, handling himself pretty well with the others; it's interesting to note that this was released just one year before he starred as Batman in the 1966 film and television series of the same name, which arguably stood out in people's minds more than his film roles. Saunders doesn't say too much, with her movements and facial expressions being feral-like that somewhat work, though at its heart the movie is more focused on adventure than the title character. Marcuse is the villain for the movie, and he certainly shows a brute nature of greed that is pretty effective. Contreras doesn't really have much to do, aside from reading lines one by one. For a film that lasts 91 minutes, it doesn't really seem to feel too long/short, though there isn't much in terms of chemistry between West and Saunders. The action scenes aren't too special; the scene with Saunders and Marcuse is okay, though there are quite a few cuts to Contreras' face before he turns on Marcuse (which you can guess pretty quickly); West's fights with Marcuse aren't long either, just having a quick resolution after some punches. As stated by the end credits, this was photographed in the Deschutes National Forest, and the film does seem to work best when showing off the land, which looks quite beautiful, and it helps give the movie fine atmosphere.. While the movie isn't really anything too special, I can see this being acceptable family entertainment with some noteworthy talent involved; it may be a bit hard to find on DVD, but one can likely find it if one looks hard for it on the Internet. The level of enjoyment one finds in this can vary from either average to just a bit above average, depending on what you are looking for.
In any case, I wanted to do my own little tribute to Adam West, who had died one week ago. His work in the Batman series (and film - #177) is one that many people grew up with or heard about from their parents, and I can say that his portrayal stood out quite significantly. Rest in peace, Mr. West.
Overall, I give it 7 out of 10 stars.