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Tarzan and the She-Devil

USA 1953
produced by
Sol Lesser for RKO
directed by Kurt Neumann
starring Lex Barker, Joyce MacKenzie, Raymond Burr, Monique van Vooren, Tom Conway, Michael Granger, Henry Brandon, Robert Bice, Michael Ross, Lee Miller, Fred Aldrich, Ted Hecht, Ethan Laidlaw
screenplay by Karl Kamb, Carroll Young, based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, music by Paul Sawtell

Tarzan, Tarzan (Lex Barker), Tarzan at RKO, Sol Lesser's Tarzan

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Vargo (Raymond Burr) is an ivory hunter in Lyra's (Monique van Vooren) employ, and he's among the most ruthless, routinely enslaving natives to hunt the elephants and carry the ivory for him. But Vargo and Lyra have a problem: Tarzan (Lex Barker), who neither wants elephants hunted nor natives enslaved. Vargo wants to kill Tarzan in cold blood, but Lyra has a better (?) idea: Why not capture Tarzan and make him lure the elephants to an especially built enclosure ?

Soon enough, Lyra and Vargo have captured Tarzan, but the plan doesn't quite work as planned, as Tarzan is in no mood to lure his friends the elephants into a death trap, plus he is not a man who is easily held in captivity ... so before long he has made his escape.

Thing is, Lyra, Vargo and Lyra's right-hand-man Fidel (Tom Conway) have gone after Tarzan, and they find out his weakness: Jane (Joyce MacKenzie) - so this time they plan to capture not only Tarzan but also Jane. Capturing Tarzan proves to be relatively easy this time around, but Jane makes a desperate escape during which she has an accident and is thereafter presumed dead. Finding proof about Jane's death, Tarzan is left a broken man and becomes totally apathic, and after Lyra leaves the camp, Vargo, who was never too keen on relying on Tarzan's services, subjects him to one torture after another - without Tarzan even flinching let alone showing any trace of resistance.

Jane though isn't really dead, an elephant finds her and carries her to the next native village where she is nursed back to health. Once she's ok again, she tries to track down Tarzan ... and runs right in to the arms of Lyra, who has just found out that Vargo is planning to cheat her out of her ivory - so she takes Jane captive to improve her bargaining position and returns to Vargo's camp.

Seeing Jane, Tarzan can be persuaded to call the elephants after all, but he still has an ace up his sleeve: When the elephants arrive he locks himself and the native slaves inside the elephant-proof enclosure while the elephants are let loose on the camp ... and trample pretty much all the baddies to a pulp. And for a little bit of extra suspense, Tarzan only just manages to save Jane from being stomped on as well.


The last of the Lex Barker-Tarzans is little more than tired routine: The plot about elephant hunters offers no new insights into the subject, the alleged She-Devil (Monique van Vooren) is actually rather tame compared to the lead villain of the piece (Raymond Burr), the natives are all of a very pale complexion (meaning they are white men), the jungle sets look less than spectacular, and most of the jungle animals are nothing more than stock footage edited into the film (though admittedly rather smoothly). At least the film ends with an elephant stampede, just like the classic MGM-Tarzans did ... but compared to the specially staged MGM-finales, this film's collection of stock footage looks a bit disappointing.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD