Robert is a writer-photographer searching for a model to follow him up in his adventures around the world. In Los Angeles he find Karen, a naïve young lady that despite her initial resistance, ends up accepting the proposal of being photographed in wild environments. They soon arrive at the African continent, exploring the wilderness in a hybrid car that also serves as a small boat. At some point, Robert asks Karen to pose nude. The request leaves her emotionally unstable since it recalls her of a past sexual abuse. The couple understand each other better along the way, opening themselves and talking about previous experiences, as an affair Robert let go in Hong Kong. The film contains some remarkable sequences, as one in which a monkey is sexually “discovering” Karen’s body, while she is unconscious, after knocking her head in a stone. Other remarkable and suggestive sequence happens when a giant snake rolls over Karen’s body, quickly saved by Robert. Throughout the movie, various sex scenes are inserted without apparent connection to the plot, with characters that were not seen any time before. Possibly, the real reason for that is purely commercial, set by the production’s market goals


Directed by Zygmunt Sulistrowski; and Louis Soulanes
Produced by Zygmunt Sulistrowski
Screenwriting by Zygmunt Sulistrowski; and Jordan Arthur Deutsch

Music by Moacir Santos; Enrico Simonetti; and Zygmunt Sulistrowski
Orchestra conducted by Enrico Simonetti


Composers Moacir Santos and Enrico Simonetti, and the director Zygmunt Sulistrowski himself are listed in the opening credits as composers of the Jungle Erotic film score. Both the onscreen credits and IMDb identify Santos as the main composer, whereas IMDb and the Cinemateca Brasileira credits state that Simonetti was only the conductor of the recordings.

Enrico Simonetti was an Italian pianist and composer who lived and worked in Brazil in the 1950s and 1960s, when he composed various film scores. Simonetti participated in four of Sulistrowski’s films before Jungle Erotic: Feitiço do Amazonas [1955], Passion of the Wilderness [1958], Duas Mil Milhas de Amor [1959] and How I Lived as Eve [1963]. Moacir Santos, on the other hand, worked in only two of the director’s films: Love in the Pacific [1968] and Jungle Erotic. Based on this, we can suppose that Simonetti might have recommended Santos to Sulistrowski, since Simonetti was the conductor, composer and arranger for Record TV in São Paulo in the 1950s, the same company Santos worked for in 1956.

In general, the film score recalls Hollywood productions of the same period, with extensive use of orchestral formations since the film’s budget was large enough to hire a considerable number of musicians. The standard instrumentation of most of the musical insertions is a combination of strings, woodwind and brass instruments, piano, harp and percussion.

However, it is possible to hear more ethnic musical insertions at certain moments, such as the African ritual composed for the balafon [a type of xylophone, a traditional instrument in various African cultures] and percussion [atabaques and xequerê]. This musical insertion accompanies a performance in a bar that simulates a traditional ritual and situates the arrival of the characters in the African continent. Another insertion whose function is to situate the audience is the "Carnival-like drumming" played with a surdo bass drum, tambourine, cuíca drum, etc. heard during a Carnival ball scene. In another case, an orchestra excerpt is added to Asian ethnic instruments in pentatonic modal structure to represent, in a stereotypical manner, the Chinese part of the film. It is interesting to note that in the first two cases, the musical excerpts are perceived as being diegetic, despite the music source not being clearly shown onscreen.

On the other hand, there is a large variety of music genres used in a non-diegetic manner on the production. For example, an orchestra excerpt in form of a baião song [somewhat harsh and without swing] with its melody alternating between a string section and a brass section, accompanied by percussion [drums and triangles]. This insertion is the opening credits theme and it also appears at other times in the score, becoming one of the main themes. Other examples of these insertions are: another baião song performed by a smaller formation of flutes, guitar and percussion; three jazz themes, one in the style of Bill Evans played by piano and alto saxophone; another one recalling big bands from the 1930s. and the last one closer to the cool jazz of the 1960s. Finally, two fusion insertions are heard: the first one mixing "tribal" elements with funk and blues, performed with a synthesizer, atabaque, drums, bass, piano and woodwind and brass instruments; and the other funkier track, performed with flute, electric piano, guitar [with wha], bass and drums.

It was not possible to accurately determine what was in fact composed by Santos, Simonetti or Sulistrowski. But we can imagine that the director acted in a more informal manner, with general ideas and/or singing motifs or themes to be developed by the composers. The fact that Simonetti is credited as conductor [in addition to Santos always receiving the main credit for the music] makes us believe that he possibly only acted in that position. Additionally, a few characteristic elements of Santos’ previous compositions for film can be found in this work.

Finally, it can be said that the film’s editing is somewhat confusing, with some shots included in an almost random fashion or with very little relation to the story’s linear progression. The music acts as a unifying element, joining the scenes in a more fluid and natural manner by means of the instrumentation and motivic recurrence.

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Commercially released in the United States in November 1970, directed by Zygmunt Sulistrowski