Cinema: The New Picture: Mar. 18, 1940

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Zanzibar (Universal), from the studio which recently gave the world Green Hell, is one of the funniest pictures ever made in all seriousness. Fun begins when Lola Lane (a lion huntress) becomes involved in a struggle to the death between the British Empire and Eduardo Ciannelli. Miss Lane is pro-British. She and Mr. Ciannelli both have orders to steal the skull of a former African chief, Mkwawa (pronounced McVava).

Grim note is struck when Mr. Ciannelli is suspected of murdering the skipper of Miss Lane's animal freighter. He might have saved himself the trouble: the ship immediately founders. But first all the animals escape. The sight of the well-trained lions and leopards leaping gracefully into a boiling ocean is one long to be remembered.

Miss Lane escapes too. Inhumanely dislodging a lion from her lifeboat, she reaches shore. But so do Mr. Ciannelli, the lions and the leopards. They track Miss Lane, pausing only to devour two of her party, right up to the village where Mkwawa's skull is tucked away (in a volcano). Next day with the help of the Sultan (who has a strong German accent) Miss Lane traps enough animals to stock a zoo. It does her no good because Mr. Ciannelli lets them all out again the same night. There is another bedlam of leaping lions, snarling leopards, flitting hyenas. By the time she gets them back in their cages, Miss Lane is all primed to go skull hunting. Then the Sultan takes her and her friends into protective custody.

In the nick of time, James Craig lets the animals out all over again. Miss Lane gets the skull when the volcano erupts, explodes and buries Mr. Ciannelli. Says Tom Fadden, patting the skull as Miss Lane and he drop leisurely downstream a few minutes later: "Old fellow, when we get back from this, you and I are going on a two-week bender."