Thursday, August 13, 2015


Tarzan's son Boy gets in trouble while climbing down a cliff to catch a glimpse of the hidden city of Pallandria. Zandra, a princess of the lost city, helps Tarzan save him. Tarzan's mate Jane is off in England tending to a sick relative, but she sends back word about the war with the Nazis, which has not yet affected Tarzan's homeland. But soon the Nazis begin circling the jungle looking for oil and other natural resources to use. An injured German paratrooper is saved and taken in by Tarzan and Boy. Schmidt, the Nazi, pretends to be British and is nursed back to health while secretly repairing his radio equipment so he can send for reinforcements. Meanwhile, the other Nazis have held a bloodless coup in Pallandria, forcing Zandra's tribe to work as slave labor in getting precious elements to use in the war effort. When a Nazi colonel tries to rape Zandra, her hunky brother Achmet steps in but is killed for his efforts. Back at Tarzan's place, Schmidt tries to kill Cheetah the chimp when he interrupts a radio transmission, but an elephant comes to the rescue, tossing the Nazi off a cliff. Zandra makes her way to Tarzan's place and asks for his help, but he remains a staunch isolationist, even after Boy teaches Zandra to flirt with Tarzan to get her way. However, when the Nazis come looking for Schmidt's radio and wind up kidnapping Boy, Tarzan finally gets pissed and joins Zandra in kicking some Nazi ass.

The war gave a new context to action movies and thrillers in general, especially B-genre movies, and the Tarzan series, downgraded from glossy MGM to lesser studio RKO, needed something new to stay interesting. At almost 40, Johnny Weismuller was looking a little too chunky to be comfortable swinging through the trees in a loincloth, and the actress who played Jane, Maureen O'Sullivan, had left. So Nazis were just the right ingredient to spice up the franchise. (The next film in the series, TARZAN’S DESERT MYSTERY makes the Nazis a fairly minor element while throwing in some more fantastic elements like a giant spider.) Frances Gifford is OK as Zandra, Johnny Sheffield is very good as Boy, Stanley Ridges is the Nazi colonel, and Stanley Brown is the ill-fated Achemt. A nice pick-me-up for a series starting to go stale. (Check out that fabulous treehouse compound of Tarzan's pictured at left--click on it for a bigger version.) [TCM]

1 comment:

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