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Jane's (Maureen O'Sullivan) cousins Eric (William Henry) & Rita
(Benita Hume) have taken it upon themselves to find Jane in the jungle
where she lives with Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller), to lure her back to
London & make her sign some papers for a big inheritance. & to
bring them to Jane, they have hired guide & big game hunter Cpatain
Fry (James Buckler) who leads them throught he jungle with his right hand
Rawlins (Herbert Mundin), his native guide Bomba (Darby Jones) & of
course the usual bunch of native porters.
Soon though, it turns out that Cpatain Fry isn't quite as friendly as
he looks & is big in capturng & caging apes, & his ultimate
triumph would be to cage this fabled white ape everyone's talking about,
Tarzan. Of course, neither does he capture Tarzan, nor does the jungle
king allow his ape friends to stay caged for long.
Heavy-hearted, Jane lets herself be persuaded to go back to England to
sort out legal matters of the inheritance, if only for a few weaks, but
still, this leaves Tarzan heartbroken - a situation which Fry perfectly
knows to exploit: With Jane gone, it's an easy task to persuade Tarzan
that she not only will never come back, but also suggested to him to
capture Tarzan, & in the end, Tarzan goes into the cage prepared for
him voluntarily. Only Rawlins smells the fish, but Fry shoots him in cold
Then though, the expedition runs into a bunch of natives, the same ones
Fry tried to persuade to help him, but they prove to be hostile & soon
have everyone tied up & have taken possession of the cage with Tarzan
... of course withthe help of his elephant friends Tarzan can soon escape
his cage & organizes an elephant stampede to free his firends &
fight the natives (once again, probably it is the footage also used in Tarzan
the Ape Man & Tarzan
and his Mate, edited together differently). Then the group makes
it through some swamps to shake off their native pursuers, for whom the
swamp is taboo.
Once they have made it to safety though, Tarzan sends Fry, who tried to
kill him & betray everyone, back into the swamps, where he sinks to a
horrible death in no time.
& n the end, Eric& Rita tell Jane she doesn't have to go to
London after all, she can just sign some papers here. They only wanted to
lure her back, but now having seen the wonderful life she is living, they
are no longer too sure if they have anything better ...
Taken by its own merits, Tarzan Escapes is still an ok jungle
adventure, providing everything one might expect from such a film (stock
footage of wild beasts, some live cute chimpanzees, wild lions &
big elephants, fierce natives, evil white hunters, ...), but compared to
its 2 predecessors, Tarzan the
Ape Man & Tarzan and
his Mate, Tarzan Escapes is getting a bit dull. True, the
first 2 movies of the series did include all those typical elements as
well, but using them for the third time in a row (even some whole
sequences like the fight against the crocodile have been lifted from the earlier
films) does seem a bit tiring, also the fascination for the
film's subject (& its possibilities) seems a bit lost here. & some
things about this film, like Tarzan's & Jane's treehouse with all the
accommodations of a modern home, but made from wood, are actually a bit
Still, despite all that the film is watchable.