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Somewhere in Africa: Commercial hunters Burger (Jack Elam) and DeGroot
(Charles E.Fredericks) have run out of game to hunt this side of the
river, but there would be plenty of game on the other side of the river.
Thing is, the other side of the river belongs to the Sukulu tribe, a tribe
that worships animals and will kill anyone who hunts them. Furthermore
they don't like white folks - with one exception though, jungle doctor
Celliers (Peter van Eyck), who respects animals as such and even treats
sick animals. So Gurger and DeGroot go undercover as reporters wanting to
film the doctor's achievements, but modest Celliers declines. His
assistant Jill (Vera Miles) though, convinced that his work deserves more
attention, persuades the doctor to take the hunters with him after all.
It's only later that Jill and Tarzan (Gordon Scott) learn that the
so-called reporters actually have ulterior motives and want to pull a fast
one on the Doctor, so Tarzan and Jill cross the river as well to warn
Celliers, but by that time it's already too late: Burger and DeGroot have
started to drive the animals to the other side of the river (simply by
letting the engine of their car roar), and the Sukulu take Celliers, Jill
and Tarzan captive since the evil witch doctor (Jester Hairston) has
finally found an excuse to get rid of the jungle doctor, his biggest
Tarzan however manages to escape, and he manages to call the animals
back thanks to his famous warcry - and Burger and DeGroot are stomped to
death by the returning elephants. Then Tarzan returnst to the Sukulus,
where Jill and the Doctor are about to be fed to the lions, and of course
he manages to save them, and the evil witch doctor as well, who has
accidently fallen into the lions' pit. Then Tarzan and his friends make
peace with the Sukulu and their chieftain (Rex Ingram).
Tarzan's Hidden Jungle, the first film with Gordon Scott in the
lead, is by and large pretty disappointing, a sheer continuation of the Lex
Barker Tarzans, which were tired jungle adventures at best.
Scott in fact is less than impressive in the title role, but in all
fairness, he doesn't get all that much to do. Watching this sub-standard
effort, it is hardly surprising that RKO discontinued producing Tarzan
features after this one, while Lesser took the property (and Gordon Scott
with it) to other studios for better results.
A bit of trivia: Gordon Scott would within the year 1954 his Tarzan's
Hidden Jungle-co-star Vera Miles, whom he met on the set of this