Tarzan's Desert Mystery
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
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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
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.