An investigator checks into the rumors of harsh working conditions on an Amazon rubber plantation.



(screenplay), (original story "Fury of the Tropics") | 1 more credit »


Complete credited cast:
Louis Merrill ...
Porthos Scipio (as Lou Merrill)
J.P. Waterford
J.T.M. Gallon
Adia Kuznetzoff ...
Soledad - Slave-Driver
Hannibal - Slave-Driver
Amando - Peg-legged Peon
Thomas E. Snell (as Milburne Stone)


Dan Burton, an undercover investigator from America, is sent to the rain forests of the Amazon to investigate reports of slave-labor on the company';s rubber plantation. Along with his aide, "Tiny' Andrews, they encounter a daughter, Judith Adams, searching for her father, a missing scientist, brutal plantation bosses and a case or two of insanity. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


YANKEE FISTS...Batter a jungle Napoleon down to his Watrloo! (original print ad)


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dark Empire  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

In the Universal tropics, they found a way to grow corn.
17 March 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The schtick of Andy Devine is up there with Billy Gilbert's sneezing, Edgar Kennedy's slow burn, Roscoe Ates' stutter and El Brendel's Swedish accent. (Well maybe not THAT bad), but like the first three, it's funny in small doses. Still, I couldn't help bit laugh at his antics in this silly adventure yarn about corruption going on in a jungle rubber plant where rugged Richard Arlen has been sent to investigate. After preventing Arlen from being poisoned, Devine is fired, and joins Arlen on his journey. So while they risk poisoned darts and jungle critters, at least they can be Hope and Crosby, minus the songs. Like the later "Road" pictures, there's a bunch of exotic villains, and here, they are all extremely one dimensional.

Films like this are so easy to figure out, as obvious for who the villains are as to who will not come back. Also on the journey is feisty Beverly Roberts (searching for her missing father) who previously gave Arlen a good smack for being fresh. So we know where that's going. In anticipation of the arrival at Universal of Maria Montez, exotic Lupita Tovar (who passed away recently at the age of 106!) is also along, not as the typical spitfire, but rather soft. Roberts, briefly under contract to Warner Brothers, was not one of the more charismatic actresses, but she's allowed to smile here, and when she does, a brief bit of magnetism surprisingly appears.

It takes nearly half of the film's length to get to the jungle and for important aspects of the plot to really take off. From there on, it's mostly plot related talk but little action, and as a result, this ends up being one of the more boring tropical pictures out there. The story involving Roberts and father Samuel S. Hinds seems lifted from "A Tale of Two Cities". The second half of this hour long film slows down to turtle time, with Devine practically an afterthought after having dominated much of the first half. Even when violence erupts to bring the story to it's conclusion, all I could anticipate was the end popping up and that snappy theme that Universal always used to repeat the cast.

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