Nature Girl and the Slaver (1957)
A sequel to Liane, Jungle Goddess from one year earlier, Nature Girl and the Slaver presents — with a generous use of seashells — the continuing adventures of its cut-rate female Tarzan. Played by Marion Michael, the white-skinned, blonde-haired Liane — or Diane, as the English dub of this German/Italian co-production calls her — lives peacefully with a primitive native tribe as their unwritten honky ruler.
Also acting as our narrator for instant story immersion, a meaty police inspector (Adrian Hoven, Jess Franco’s Succubus) flies over to help break up the slave-trading game going on … and maybe fall in love, as he figures Liane/Diane could go a long way in assisting his peace talks.
Or something like that. At barely over an hour, Nature Girl (aka Jungle Girl and the Slaver) as too limited a time to explore real-world issues. Besides, that’s not what movies of this ilk were about; they were intended to take advantage of their foreign setting in order to satiate the male moviegoer’s desire in seeing some tit. Although barely covered by her hair and the aforementioned shells, Liane does not bare her breasts (a good thing, considering how underage she appears), whereas literally dozens of black women go completely topless and dance around with no regard to the effects of gravity and motion. In essence, director Hermann Leitner has delivered an issue of National Geographic come to dusty life, replete with stock footage of wild animals inserted willy-nilly, with no one shot matching those bookending it.
This nonchalance carries over to Leitner’s treatment of his heroine; Michael plays Liane smart and fluent in one scene, only to shift to bone-stupid and monosyllabic the next. At least half of Nature Girl and the Slaver’s benign enjoyment is the disinterested dub, so comical in nature that at first, the film sounds like a Mad Movies performance of loving mockery. If there’s a chapter that deserves such skewering, however, it’s the third and final chapter, 1961’s Liane, Daughter of the Jungle, which edits the previous two adventures into one. —Rod Lott