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Tarzan's Desert Mystery

USA 1943
produced by
Sol Lesser, Kurt Neumann (associate) for RKO
directed by William Thiele
starring Johnny Weissmuller, Nancy Kelly, Johnny Sheffield, Otto Kruger, Joe Sawyer, Lloyd Corrigan, Robert Lowery, Frank Puglia, Philip Van Zandt, Bobby Barber, Frank Faylen, George J.Lewis, Nestor Paiva, John Berkes
story by Carroll Young, screenplay by Edward T.Lowe jr, based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, music by Paul Sawtell, musical direction by C.Bakaleinikoff

Tarzan, Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller), Tarzan at RKO, Sol Lesser's Tarzan

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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To fetch some medicine for Jane, who's still away in England helping in the Allied war effort, Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) and Boy (Johnny Sheffield) leave their jungle and cross the desert to the next bigger town. Soon enough, they are joined by an American vaudeville magician, Connie Bryce (Nancy Kelly), whose bearers Tarzan chased off when he thought they were threatening Connie.

Once in the city, Tarzan is arrested almost immediately, and only eventually broken free by Connie and Boy. Then, while he's off to the next jungle that's infested by man-eating plants, giant spiders, giant lizards and the like, local badman Hendrix (Otto Kruger) kills the Sheik's (Lloyd Corrigan) son Selim (Robert Lowery) and manages to put the blame on Connie, who incidently carried a message to warn the Sheik and his son of Hendrix.

Connie is soon tried and convicted to death by hanging, but in the last minute Tarzan and Boy manage to save her from the noose, and with nowhere else to go, Tarzan takes the two to the man eating plant-/giant spider-/giant lizard-infested jungle he has just returned from, with Hendrix and his henchman Karl (Joe Sawyer) in hot pursuit ... but of course in this jungle they are no match for Tarzan and soon fall victims to the jungle's many threats.

And in the end, Connie finds the secret message that accuses Hendrix of his wrongdoings and her record is cleared by the Sheik himself ...

 

Tarzan's Desert Mystery actually plays less like the jungle adventure you would expect from an entry into the Tarzan-series but more like an Arabian Nights-adventure with a sci-fi-ending tagged on  ... and against all odds, this concept works. Of course the film is every bit as cheesy and as silly as I made it sound to be, but if you manage to not take it too seriously it's also pretty funny and highly enjoyable. No classic for sure, but exhilerating.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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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
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD