Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Lord Oliver Greystoke is on safari in Africa with his guide Rokov, but when Greystoke takes aim at a lion, Rokov (Charles Korvin) takes aim at Greystoke and shoots him dead. Rokov and his partner in crime Edwards (Patric Knowles), a patrician looking Brit, steal Oliver's belongings and Edwards poses as the dead man. Their plot: to find Tarzan, Greystoke's cousin, and get him to take them to a hidden treasure of diamonds which they'll claim they want to take back to England to enrich the country's post-war coffers but they actually plan to keep for themselves. Meanwhile, we see Tarzan (Lex Barker) watching some natives use small children as bait for hunting crocodiles. He saves one child, Joey, a white orphan, and lets him stay with him and Jane, teaching the boy survival skills such as being able to stare down a lion. When the men meet up with our jungle family, Tarzan has his doubts, but Jane convinces him to help, so they all (including Cheetah) head out to cross potentially dangerous territory to find the gems. The bad guys act in the usual fashion, doing something stupid (in this case, unnecessarily shooting at a hippo) that puts the entourage in danger. There's also the usual danger from natives (in this case, a cannibal tribe), the usual trapping of Tarzan which puts him out of commission at a crucial moment, and the usual antics of Boy (err, Joey) and Cheetah which end up helping to save the day.

I've now seen all five of Lex Barker's Tarzan movies; he's not as muscly as Gordon Scott, or as articulate as Jock Mahoney, but he seems comfortable in the character. He's not as primitive or hot-headed as Weissmuller, though he still speaks in broken English and he is (rightfully) distrustful of white interlopers. Dorothy Hart is fine as Jane, and actually looks a bit like the original, Maureen O'Sullivan. Tommy Carlton is good as Joey, though this was his only movie role of credit. Hungarian actor Korvin is nicely villainous, and Knowles fills out the sort-of bad guy role well—he's bad at first but soon regrets his actions and tries to change, naturally with unhappy results. There isn't really any "savage fury" on display here—it would be up to Gordon Scott to give Tarzan a little more edge—but this is generally enjoyable, and though a couple of effects shots are poorly done, the stock footage scenes look like they've been refurbished. [TCM]

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