|Marion Michael in the Swingin' Fifties.|
Marion Ilonka Michaela Delonge was born in Konigsberg, East Prussia, a German province. (The Russians captured Konigsberg at the end of the war and renamed it Kaliningrad.) Marion fled with her mother to the tiny island of Hiddensee, and then to Berlin. They eventually settled in West Berlin, while Marion's father, a surgeon, remained in East Berlin.
|LIANE film programme.|
It begins at the campsite of the Danner expedition, where we're introduced to a group of explorers. The team's photographer, Thoren (Hardy Kruger), is out photographing wildlife. He stumbles upon a lion cub, which he intends to take with him, but is immediately attacked by warriors. His assistants flee, leaving Thoren to fend for himself.
|Best to keep your head in these situations. Liane spares Thoren's life.|
Chia-Hee and the warriors return to their village, where bare-breasted women justify the white girl's own nudity. (A clever device; after all, she's one of the Wo-Do tribe, and can't be expected to dress any differently.) Chia-Hee gives a few commands in her native tongue, then climbs a rope up to her small tree house, where she lives high above the mud huts, as befits a white goddess.
|White jungle goddesses deserve more than just a few beans.|
The next morning, Chia-Hee is swinging from a vine above a pool. Fortunately, Thoren has his camera set up right near that very spot and takes photos of her swimming around. Her friend Tanga arrives to tease her, but she shoos him away. When she notices Thoren, she leaves.
|Thoren (Hardy Kruger) with Liane in a promotional photo. The scene is non-existent, as it was actually a big lout named Keller who captured this enchanting creature.|
Still tied up and tangled in the net, Chia-Hee is kept in one of the tents. Thoren takes the net from over her head, and she bites his arm. But the girl's fear is abated by Thoren's gentle approach, and he rather suggestively feeds her a banana.
|The wild-eyed Liane, queen of the jungle.|
In the morning, Jacqueline gives Chia-Hee a shower, then crops her mane. She's given a blouse, tied in a knot at her midriff, and a pair of short shorts. "Ah, that looks so much better now," opines Jacqueline. They make some progress when the girl recognises the German word for "mother".
|Who wears short shorts?|
Jacqueline, having already received a message that she was accepted by the Tropical Institute, must return to Hamburg, along with Tibor and his monkey specimens. Chia-Hee is being sent with them, to be restored to civilisation. Thoren is forced to join the travellers, as the frightened girl refuses to go without him.
|Liane and Tanga|
While the ship is being loaded, Tanga arrives with Chia-Hee's lion cub, and stows away. When he's discovered, they agree to pay for his passport, and Chia-Hee is overjoyed to have her pet, Simba, back. Thoren comes across a newspaper report about Amelongen's claim, and they rechristen the girl "Liane". During the boat trip, Liane begins to learn German (English, in the translated version).
The ship arrives at Port Said, Egypt, met by a throng of reporters. Viktor shows up, ostensibly to fly Liane back to Germany, but Thoren suspects that Amelongen's rat-faced nephew has a more nefarious scheme in mind, and refuses to let Liane go without him. Viktor reluctantly agrees, and the three of them catch the next flight to Hamburg.
|Liane and Simba|
Viktor, until now Amelongen's sole surviving heir, fears for his inheritance, and will stop at nothing to disprove the theory that the wild girl is Amelongen's granddaughter.
At Amelongen's mansion, all are given a warm welcome from the old shipbuilder. That evening Liane is given a babydoll nightgown and a luxurious bedroom, but in the morning she's found in Thoren's room, sleeping on the floor beside his bed.
|"So, it wasn't a dream!" Thoren wakes up to a surprise.|
She's more at home on the grounds of Amelongen's estate, climbing trees in a bikini and diving into the pond. She takes a liking to her grandfather, and calls him "Long-Long". A child's finger print left in jam on a letter to Amelongen from Liane's mother offers conclusive proof of the girl's lineage. The letter is shown to Viktor, who crumples it up and throws it on the ground for the dog to chew on, hoping to get rid of the evidence. He's unaware that Thoren noticed in time, and rescued it from the mutt's slavering jaws.
In Africa, the Danner expedition gets word that Liane has inherited the Amelongen fortune, and that she and Thoren will be returning to the jungle. The tribe is happy to see Chia-Hee again.
The film ends with Liane discarding her clothes before diving into her favourite swimming hole. Thoren joins her. The end.
|LIANE, LA SAUVAGEONNE; painted poster for the French market.|
The movie was submitted for review to the censor board October 1, 1956, and it was recommended for those 12 years of age and over, but a revision in the code February 13, 1957 earned it a "16" label, and then another revision on April 10, 1958 found the movie suitable for 10-year-olds.
|Above: LIANE, DAS MADCHEN AUS DEM URWALD, film programme. Judging by the cover, you'd think it was a Disney movie. Below: Okay, so it's not a Disney movie.|
|From the back cover of STAR REVUE #17 (1957)|
|LIANE, THE GIRL FROM THE JUNGLE, Book 1 (1958)|
|LIANE, THE GIRL FROM THE JUNGLE, Book 2 (1958)|
|LIANE, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (1958)|
Liane also comes from a long line of lost-and-found jungle girls, many of whom were heiresses. There was the serial JUNGLE GODDESS (1922), LORRAINE OF THE LIONS (1925), TRADER HORN (1931), THE SAVAGE GIRL (1932), QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE (1935), THE JUNGLE PRINCESS (1936), BLONDE SAVAGE (1947), JUNGLE GODDESS (1948), DAUGHTER OF THE JUNGLE (1949), and CAPTIVE GIRL (1950), part of Johnny Weissmuller's Jungle Jim series of movies. There was also THE TIGER WOMAN (1944), a 12-chapter Republic serial. The list goes on.
LIANE may not be CITIZEN KANE, but it's a competent, entertaining production, and Marion Michael is effortlessly charming throughout. The young beauty appeared on dozens of magazine covers.
|FUNK UND FILM (December 1, 1956)|
|Liane featured in CAPER, 1959|
|QUICK (May 2, 1959).|
|LIANE, DIE WEISSE SKLAVIN film programme, 1957.|
|LIANE, DIE WEISSE SKLAVIN film programme.|
|What unmitigated idiot gave Marion Michael second billing for the LIANE, DIE WEISSE SKLAVIN premiere?|
|A truly unfortunate poster for LIANE, DIE WEISSE SKLAVIN for the American market.|
|ROMAN FILM COLOR #6 (October 20, 1958), adapting LIANE, DAS MADCHEM AUS DEM URWALD.|
|ROMAN FILM COLOR #9 (January 20, 1959), adapting LIANE, DIE WEISSE SKLAVIN.|
|ERBANIA #7 (June 1959).|
|One of a zillion Marion Michael postcards.|
Marion Michael passed away in 2007, just shy of her 67th birthday, but she forever lives on as Liane!