Olive Films brings the 1955 Republic movie serial “Panther Girl of the Kongo” to blu-ray form with every episode of the cliff hanger adventures for fans. Phyllis Coates as Jean Evans is the heroine and adventurer who has been taken in to confidence by the African tribe the Utange. There she lives among the natives and begins helping them fend off various threats to their way of life. This includes a mad scientist who uses various monsters and experiments to battle with Evans. He and his cronies will do everything to push the Utange out of their village for the sake of a very valuable diamond mine.
But thanks to heroine Jean Evans and hunky hunter Larry Sanders, they do battle with a ton of menaces, including evil panthers, giant mutant craw fish (No! Not craw fish! They’re nature’s thugs!), and the monstrous threats. Of course Evans and Sanders spend most of their time beating and fighting monsters with the use of their hunting rifles, and try to report to the authorities about the continued monsters that keep entering the villages, terrorizing locals and whatnot. “Panther Girl of the Kongo” is a sillier serial series with a lot of the premises for the episodes reaching repetition by the time the sixth episode rears its head.
Evans and Sanders solve every single problem but blowing it away, and we never get to see them do much beyond that. It’s likely because the budget couldn’t allow for a lot of great action packed moments, but it’s kind of disappointing to see a giant crawfish only for it to crawl away after being shot a ton of times. It’s also kind of sad to see giant monsters knock destroy stuff. That said Panther Girl does get in to the action every now and then with episode five featuring her donning a cat like fur and doing battle with a ferocious lion. Panther Girl is back and forth with being a heroine and typical damsel in distress as with typical 1950’s cinema.
So one minute she’s going head to head with a lion, and the next she’s saved from drowning thanks to her heroic sick. That said “Panther Girl” is a neat serial heroine who gets to protect nature, and wildlife while knocking people out and shooing them dead. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little entertained by most of it. The serials have a lot of energy and a brisk pace, not to mention the classic aesthetic of sitting through them in the middle of a theater. The Blu-Ray comes with no extras, but the episodes are in order, complete, and restored for collectors alike.