Jane and the Lost City
Jane and the Lost City 1987
After watching the Jane movie from the 1940s, I just had to follow it up with what would probably be called a reboot today. Nearly forty years later (after a couple television series) they made another Jane movie only this time it felt much more like the spirit of the comic, at least how it’s described in Wikipedia articles. When compared to the classic movie, this has a lot more humor and actually gives Jane a bit of agency here and there. And while it had a lot more moments of clothes ripping off of Jane, it still retained the comical spirit and never really veered off into creepy exploitation. Overall, it was a lot of fun to watch.
This version of Jane has her as part of the armed forces of England working for Churchill against the Nazis. They’re both after a treasure trove of diamonds hidden in the titular lost city somewhere in Africa. Along with Jane are her three companions, an elderly Colonel wearing a monocle and a butler-esque Tombs. They eventually meet up with Flash Gordon-err Jungle Jack. They’re all decently fun characters that skirt the bumbling fool stereotype where they aren’t really all that skilled, but they just happen to stumble upon success through no fault of their own. Jane does seem to be more or less an equal to her fellow companions and even rescues Jungle Jack after he gets captured at one point. And while the Dachshund Fritzi is also still present during the majority of the movie, he’s generally just in the background and only proves useful once or twice.
This time around the villains are a bit more on the interesting side of things. There’s Maud Adams playing the Nazi villainess in a similar way to how she played in the Bond movies. She also has a simpering Nazi sadist who is a complete buffoon along with a couple buffoonish brothers played by the same actor who all fail at assassinating Jane. There’s also the hulking hunter and a cowardly scientist and all four of them pretty much line up with Jane and her three companions which really comes into play during the climax when they all fight each other. The buffoon is a little over the top at times, but it fits with the cartoonish nature of the movie.
The tone of the movie is just a silly, campy, comedic romp. Every step of the way something silly and over the top is happening, from the buffoonish assassination attempts to the racist native stereotypes. Although there is a nice moment where they fall into the Lost City and get captured by those natives only to find out that their queen is an English socialite who gets on swimmingly with Jane. But aside from that moment, all of the rest of the natives are just spear wielding racist stereotypes covered with war paint, speak no lines of dialogue, and simply point spears at any character or tie them to posts for a potential sacrifice.
There’s not a whole lot else to say about this film, Kirsten Hughes actually plays Jane quite well, from the innocent embarrassment of her frequent and unexpected wardrobe malfunctions to the quick witted comebacks. One of the best moments is early on when a random person is carted out in a near full body cast and tears off Jane’s dress. When they go inside they mention that the guy had lost his grip and Jane replies by saying “not completely”. It’s a fun gag, and Jane delivers on it well each time it happens. The timing is great, the tone is extremely campy but it’s really worth it. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.