Monday, February 27, 2012


Commissioners Peters (retiring) and Connors (his replacement) watch the coronation of Melmendi, new queen of the Ashuba tribe. Peters is proud of having kept gin and guns out the hands of the natives, but there are problems on the horizon: Bulam, a rival tribe's king, wants to marry Melmendi but she refuses him, and there are gunrunners sniffing around, notably escaped prisoner Radijeck and his buddies. Tarzan hears about Radijeck's presence from his animal pals and warns the commissioners, but Peters and Connors are both caught off guard and killed by the gunrunners. Bulam is buying guns from Radijeck in order to wage war on the Ashuba, and Melmendi is kidnapped, leaving Tarzan to single-handedly save the day, which he does, climaxing in a brutal knife fight with Bulam. But even after the queen and her people are saved, there’s trouble: Radijeck finds Jane and holds her at gunpoint. Can Tarzan save the day twice in one day?

For Lex Barker's third round as Tarzan, coming after TARZAN AND THE SLAVE GIRL, a substantial amount of the film was actually shot in Africa, though it's difficult to say what, as we still get the soundstage treehouse and vine-swinging scenes. Barker is fine, but the new Jane (Virginia Huston) is not; with an oddly kicky hairdo, she looks like a suburban mom , or like Jane Wyatt doing a pilot episode of Tarzan Knows Best. George Macready (the bad guy from GILDA) is good as Radijeck, as are Douglas Fowley and Glenn Anders as his cohorts; a little echo of TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE can be sensed in the plotline involving the bad guys' bad behavior toward each other. The legendary Dorothy Dandridge, who later played Bess in the film of Porgy and Bess, is wasted as the queen, but it's nice to see her as she only appeared in a handful of film roles in her career. Alan Napier (Adam West's Alfred in Batman) is Peters. The first half is a little slow with too much exposition trotted out in long dialogue scenes, but the action picks up nicely in the last half. [TCM]

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