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Tarzan Triumphs

USA 1943
produced by
Sol Lesser for RKO, Principal
directed by William Thiele
starring Johnny Weissmuller, Johnny Sheffield, Frances Gifford, Stanley Ridges, Sig Ruman, Philip Van Zandt, Rex Williams, Pedro de Cordoba, Wilhelm von Brincken, Sven Hugo Borg, Stanley Brown, Otto Reichow
story by Carroll Young, screenplay by Carroll Young, Roy Chanslor, 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, American World War II Propaganda

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When she tried to save Boy (Johnny Sheffield), Zandra (Frances) instead got herself into danger and the two find themselves marooned sitting on a small rock just big enough for the two of them in the middle of some steep cliffs - prompting Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) to rescue them. And wouldn't you know it, Zandra turns out to be the daughter of the patriarch (Pedro de Cordoba) of Pallandria, the famous hidden city in the immediate neighbourhood of Tarzan's place. The patriarch even inivtes them over, but Tarzan turns the offer down because he doesn't like to mingle with other people too much, because people are only trouble in his view.

Later, Tarzan saves Schmidt (Rex Williams), the survivor of a planecrash, and nurses him back to health, not knowing that Schmidt is a Nazi and the Nazis are actually planning to take over Pallandria ...

Soon enough, the Nazis have done just that, while Schmidt shows his true colours, fiercely wielding a gun and trying to join up with the rest of his gang, led by Colonel Reichhardt (Stanley Ridges), while Zandra, who managed to escape the Nazis, has made it through to Tarzan and pleads him to help Pallandria against the Nazis - but Tarzan turns down her pleas because he thinks this is not his war.

Upon the suggestion of Boy, Zandra tries to find her way into Tarzan's heart since Tarzan is without Jane (she's in London caring for her mother) by being him a good companion and even better housewife ... but once Tarzan finds out she does this only to persuade him to help free Pallandria, he throws her out. It is only when the Nazis capture both Zandra and Boy that he reconsiders ... and "now Tarzan make war" and soon enough, he first bumps off several Nazis one by one, then organizes a revolt among the enslaved Pallandrians, who all of a sudden have no real problems to overcome their German oppressors. Only Colonel Reichhardt is able to escape the onslaught, but Tarzan is hot on his heels and soon enough engages him in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that eventually causes Reichhardt to fall into a lion's pit ... ouch.

And in the end, Cheetah, Tarzan's pet chimp, radios a message - in ape talk - to Germany ... which the Nazis mistake for a message from Hitler ...

 

The first Tarzan film Johnny Weissmuller did for producer Sol Lesser and RKO was definitely a step down in scale from the more lavish MGM-Tarzans ... but somehow it nevertheless manages to infuse some now blood into the series that has grown a bit stale over at MGM. That said, Tarzan Triumphs is not one of the better Tarzan films, it is a silly little World War II propaganda effort set in the jungle with all of the usual jungle/pulp mainstays, like the hidden city inhabited by an all-white tribe, the incredibly evil Nazis (so ok, many of them were incredibly evil in real life too), and of course the hero in loincloth. If you are into cheesy jungle flicks, you might as well like this one.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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