A number of obituaries for the late Charlton Heston have raved over the Saturday matinee pleasures of the 1954 pulp classic, The Naked Jungle, in which Heston co-starred with Eleanor Parker, above. Produced by George Pal and directed by Byron Haskin (who had previously teamed to make the 1953 War of the Worlds), the film has a great hook – one macho man versus a legion of South American army ants. Guess who wins.
The film was based on a short story, Leiningen Versus the Ants by Carl Stephenson, that had previously been dramatized – with great success – as a radio play featuring William Conrad. The man versus ants theme was a natural for radio.
Which brings me to the point of this post – why hasn’t this movie been remade? Given that Hollywood has remade practically every other pulp classic you can think of, I am astonished that no one has thought to redo this one. (I’m not counting quasi-remakes like Phase IV or Empire of the Ants.) Seems like it would be perfect for one of the Scott Brothers, either Tony or Sir Ridley, starring one of their favorite leading men, Denzel Washington or Russell Crowe.
Who would you like to see fighting for his life against 10 million CGI army ants?