Wednesday, November 09, 2011


In Africa, where, we are told, "death wears a bright mantle—and beauty has fangs," Vargo (Raymond Burr) and his associates are hunting elephants for their ivory which they sell to the exotic Lyra (Monique Van Vooren, pictured) and her husband. Burr makes plans to go after a large but dangerous herd, and he enslaves men from the Laikopos tribe to help him. But Tarzan (Lex Barker) is a friend to the tribe, so when their women come for help, Tarzan rescues them. Vargo sets out to reclaim the natives and kidnap Jane so Tarzan will help them by using his jungle call to get the elephant herd together for easy capture. Jane manages to escape his men, but their treehouse catches fire and is destroyed; Tarzan, assuming Jane is dead, gives up, and is captured and tortured by Vargo's men. Meanwhile, Lyra's husband finds out that Vargo plans to double-cross Lyra. In the end, Jane's reappearance gives Tarzan the strength to fight, and he gets back at everyone by calling the elephants in for a deadly stampede. This was Barker's last Tarzan film and, though it starts out fine, falls apart when Tarzan falls apart. The Ape Man just sits around and sulks, and even the torture scenes aren't mean or fun enough to be distracting. Burr is a good heavy but Van Vooren is on the lackluster side, partly because she isn't given much to do. Joyce McKenzkie makes for a rather plain Jane, though she and Barker get a nice scene of an early morning, pre-coital dip in the river, after which Cheetah brings them a huge ostrich egg for breakfast. Not the worst in the series, but until the exciting climax, there's not much here to recommend. [TCM]

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