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Officially, Doctor Lazar (Edgar Barrier) is a benign physician who is
especially popular with the nativs because he is half native himself ...
but secretly, he also leads the Leopard Cult together with High Priestess
Lea (Acquanetta), a cult whose followers attack caravans through their
country disguised as leopards, and inexplicably they are fooling everyone but
Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) that they
really are leopards - inexplicably,
because the men look really stupid in their leopard costumes.
But because Tarzan has grown suspicious, High Priestess Lea has sent
her kid brother Kimba (Tommy Cook) over to Tarzan, Jane (Brenda Joyce) and
Boy (Johnny Sheffield), to keep an eye on them. But Kimba is adamant to
make his first kill, and has chosen Jane to be his victim ... not that he
succeeds mind you.
Eventually, the Leopard Cult has taken four young female would-be
Gerald, none of them has any lines though) captive and Tarzan,
investigating the girls' disappearance, is soon captured himself.
Meanwhile, Boy has found out the secret of Kimba, but befoe he can make
any good use of the knowledge, he and Jane are also taken prisoners.
Back in the Leopard Cult's caves, Lea and Doc Lazar decide to sacrifice
all their prisoners to the Leopard God, but for some reason, soon a fight
between Lazar and Kimba, who thinks Lazar is assuming too much, breaks
out, and when Tarzan is able to free himself (with a little help of his
pet chimp Cheetah) and show his friends the path to freedom, Lazar and
Kimba accuse each other of having set the prisoners free. And while they
are still fighting, Tarzan single-handedly manages to make the Leopard
Cult's hideout cave in. Only Lazar and Kimba survive, but they hate each
other quite so much by that time that they kill each other immediately
after having survived the cave-in.
And when the local commissioner (Dennis Hoey) looking for the young
teachers finally arrives, the whole thing is already over ...
Of course, Tarzan and the Leopard Women, like all RKO-Tarzans,
is no match for MGM's
classics Tarzan the
Ape Man and Tarzan and
his Mate, but taken as a piece of jungle-camp, it's actually quite
rewarding, featuring a far-fetched plot, evil cultists doing bizarre
cult-dances and wearing silly outfits, and cult fave Acquanetta playing
their leader ... against better judgement you might find yourself liking
One thing though: Tarzan and Jane have by this film ultimately become
the boring couple you might find in your neighbourhood: Tarzan spends
quite some time making repairs in their home or finding excuses not to do
them, while Jane, who was a spunky free spirit when Maureen O'Sullivan
played her, is now reduced to the status of a boring housewife who
virtually does nothing (least of all thinking) without the help of a man,
and be it her teenage son Boy or the young kid they have just found in the
How times have changed since Tarzan the
Ape Man and Tarzan and