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|Index||14 reviews in total|
"Tarzan and the Green Goddess" is a reasonable condensed version of a
longer serial, providing watchable light entertainment. It has a number
of rough edges as a result of this format, with a sometimes choppy
pace, and other stretches where the action gets somewhat repetitive.
But there is enough going on to hold your attention, and Herman Brix
(as he was then billed) is solid enough in the lead role.
As Tarzan, Brix (whom a lot of us always think of as Bruce Bennett) cannot come up to Johnny Weismuller's performance in the role, but he does give the character some life. Both Brix's approach and the story also bring out the other side of the character's nature, beyond his rugged jungle life.
The story focuses on a Central American artifact and a secret code that goes with it, with the plot mostly a series of confrontations with the bad guys. As others have pointed out, there is some unintentional humor added through the footage of African animals in a story that is supposed to be set in Guatemala.
An interesting aspect of this feature is that here the heroine (played by Ula Holt) is presented as more of an equal to Tarzan than usual. Overall, things fit together well enough to make it work all right as light viewing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was a truly dreadful film. Although it was allegedly set in
one of the first shots was of a rhino, followed by lions, and giraffes at
watering hole. Bruce Bennett did not have the physique to carry off the
role of Tarzan, which did make it more believable when he kept getting
knocked unconscious. His yell reminded me more of a fire siren going off.
The plot set up the obligatory crocodile wrestling match, and then did not
About the only redeeming feature was Ula, the Jane substitute. She was a
strong, independent character who participated and didn't just faint at
first sign of danger.
At several points, she was the one who rescued Tarzan, rather than the other way around.
I couldn't believe that rhinos, wildebeests, chimps and giraffes had invaded Guatemala. Couldn't they get South American stock footage! The other silly thing was Tarzan's yell...aaaaaahmazeeeee or something like that; it sounded more like Ma Kettle calling the kids to supper. I did like Herman Brix/Bruce Bennett as Tarzan but his loin cloth had belt loops and a belt. He was wearing pants in one scene so that may explain it. He definitely resurrected his career later with some really good roles like "Treasure of the Sierra Madre", etc. The acting was equal to the Weissmuller films, meaning pretty good but I think it was the producer and director who were at fault here. Watch the battle scene where the natives (wearing pants & shirts) carry swords but don't use them. I guess for its time and for kids it was an OK film, but nobody can "hold a candle" to the Weissmuller Tarzan films!
Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
In 1935 a serial called THE NEW ADVENTURES OF TARZAN was released in 12-chapters but then the producers got cheap and wanted to make some extra cash so they released a feature version of it. Then, three years later, the producers decided to re-edit some more footage and throw this thing out as the second feature taken from that serial. What we basically have here is the second portion of the serial as Tarzan (Herman Brix) travels to various locations trying to track down the Green Goddess and destroy the evil ones doing harm to get it. That's pretty much all the story you need to know or better said it's pretty much the only story I could come up with. It's always hard to judge these features that were trimmed down from serial simply because you're missing so much footage. You certainly can't judge the original serial from just these features. With that said, this here was pretty hard to get through for a number of reasons but the biggest is that it simply never makes any sense. It's clear that this production was trying to stay close to the source material as Tarzan is well spoken and is even able to dress nice. These touches are so fast that you really don't get to know this "other" Tarzan as it doesn't take long for him to be in the loin clothe and swinging around on vines. The performances are all rather bland and the added running time doesn't help. Fans of cheap "C" movies might get a kick out of this but it's probably best looking for the uncut serial.
Talk about recycling! As a Zorro fanatic, I have watched a couple of
the old serials that used to show in movie theaters. You had to come
back every Saturday to see the next part of the story. The original
12-part serial, The New Adventures of Tarzan, was re-edited into two
movies, this being one of them.
The most interesting thing about this movie is the star, Bruce Bennett, or as he was known then, Herman Brix. Brix was given this role after losing out on a previous film, Tarzan the Ape Man, which cast an unknown BVD underwear model, Johnny Weissmuller. A shoulder injury prevented Brix from getting this role. The rest is, as they say, history. Weissmuller went on to be the greatest Tarzan of all time, and Brix had to eventually drop out of acting, take acting lessons and change his name before returning.
This is the second of two feature-length films re-edited from the
original 12-chapter serial titled "The New Adventures of Tarzan"
(1935). Neither film is technically edited well, but they do tell
individual stories. Muscularly handsome Herman Brix, later known
professionally as Bruce Bennett, is an appropriately athletic Tarzan.
Our hero is much more cultured than he appears in the MGM Johnny
Weissmuller films; he has discovered his noble British identity, and
occasionally returns to the jungle for new adventures.
This "sequel" begins with the group attending a costume party (dressed as gypsies) at Tarzan's estate.
Previously, "Tarzan" and his friends concluded their search for an ancient relic known as "The Green Goddess" (among other things). Herein, we learn how this relic was then stolen, by dastardly Don Castello (as Raglan). He had been interested in the relic from the previous feature - for nefarious reasons, of course; the statue came with a secret formula (worth millions). "Don Castello" is a pseudonym for the serial's producer, Ashton Dearholt. Lewis Sargent (as George) has the most notable supporting role.
*** Tarzan and the Green Goddess (2/27/38) Edward Kull ~ Bruce Bennett, Ula Holt, Ashton Dearholt, Lewis Sargent
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the kind of movie I usually delight in making fun of, but I'll
hold back a bit in deference to one of my three childhood fictional
heroes (the others - Superman and The Lone Ranger). I'm sure the film
makers tried hard to put together a serious picture, but the result was
somewhat dubious. The best I can say is that it's better than ANY of
the Jungle Jim adventures made over a decade later, but certainly below
the standard of the Johnny Weissmuller 'Tarzan' films, though I haven't
seen one of those recently. I also have to add that I've just learned,
after the fact, that this was cobbled together from an earlier
serialized version, which would explain a serious jump cut where Tarzan
escapes from an unconscious state, tied to a tree in the jungle, only
to find himself about to be accosted by an alligator (or crocodile, I
can always go back to check for sure).
You know, you'd think Tarzan would get it after the first two times he got that part of his anatomy under the loin cloth kicked, but no, he does it again at Mantique, jumping into a crowd of villains in an attempt to secure the 'green goddess'. No credit for learning by your mistakes. And by the way, what kind of Tarzan yell was that? Chalk another one up for Weissmuller.
The version of the film I just watched was part of a one hundred! movie DVD compilation from Mill Creek Entertainment, that must have taken seriously some of the other reviewer comments on this board, because I didn't see any African animals like giraffes or rhinos. Not that they were missed, but I was certainly expecting wildlife that didn't honor geographic integrity, common for the era. But wait, there was that lion in the Dead City that should have made mincemeat out of the jungle hero, but guess what? - not a scratch on him!
And let's not allow Major Martling (Frank Baker) off the hook so easily either. Why did he commission that 'mysterious ship' at Mantique to make the getaway with the idol? It was pretty much confirmed by all concerned that the lone vessel appeared about the time bad guy Raglan (Ashton Dearholt/Don Castello) arrived in Mantique.
Oh well, I tried. I'm still wondering why the warning about the combination of characters relating to the explosives code was written in English. But as for Herman Brix who portrayed Tarzan - quite the superb physique, perhaps the most natural build of any of the movie Tarzans. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the heroine, Una Vale (Una Holt), who kept me guessing with all those costume changes - well done!
I'll take this movie to comment on as my platform for the Tarzan yell. There is still none better than Weissmuller's to this day. I've only started to watch Tarzan the Tiger, with Frank Merrill, quite possibly the best physical Tarzan there was by the way, and his Tarzan yell was "YAAAA! YAAAA!!! YAAAA!!!!" It pales in comparison in imagination to Herman Brix' yell, but Herman Brix yell is none too pleasing. "AAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH MAAAAAAANNNNGGGAAAAAAANNNNEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" While quite amusing, it's too long and therefore loses its significance. In the Weissmuller films, it's used to call man or beast, or signify that Tarzan may be in trouble. More accurately in Herman Brix' films, it's used as the victorious cry of the bull ape after a successful conquest, as it should be used. But it shouldn't be a pronounced cry, but rather a savage, eerie, unsettling cry that most would loath to associate with a human.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's a trial to sit through this travesty. First, Bruce Bennett is not
Tarzan. Johnny Weissmuller is Tarzan. True, Bruce Bennett, like
Wiessmuller, was an Olympic Champion, but Bennett is merely bland and
well spoken, while Weismuller is majestically stupid and has poetry.
This takes place in Guatamala, which some will be surprised to find teeming with African animals like giraffes. The country is primitive. The natives of Guatamala worship a stone idol that is sought by rival teams of explorers. Why? Because hidden inside the idol is an ancient Mayan recipe for a salad dressing which was dreamed up by a chef in San Francisco's Palace Hotel in 1923.
1 avocado, peeled and pitted 1 cup mayonnaise 5 anchovy filets, rinsed and chopped 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 clove garlic, chopped salt and pepper to taste
In a blender combine the avocado, mayonnaise, anchovies, green onion, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper. Process until smooth, then chill for 24 hours before serving
The first words out of this well-groomed Tarzan's mouth are: "Good-bye, old man."
"Tarzan and his band of intrepid followers" must get this secret recipe back to Livingston, whom I thought long dead, before an "unscrupulous band of crooks" can get their hands on it and become "a menace to the whole world."
I frankly don't know whether they made it not. I got so hungry that I shut the movie off and made a chef's salad. But, looking at the shape the world is in today, threatened from all sides, my bet is that they didn't get to Livingston and that the formula fell into those unscrupulous hands.
I just last night watched this, having seen and reviewed The New Adventures of Tarzan feature yesterday. This feature seemed to me a bit better than it's predecessor. The sound, for example, seemed slightly better, with most of the dialogue being understandable. The film also seemed to have more plot, with less of that "padded" feeling of the earlier film. The long stretches of "scenic" footage, having little to do with the plot is absent here. Watching these two films back-to-back may be the best way to enjoy this serial. The editing of the individual chapters is better than in, say, the Flash Gordon serials, which are best seen in their original format. There is no Queen Kia-Kia here to foster laughs as in the first feature, but there is a batty high-priest character to carry the unintentional comedy load. In all, if you watch these two features together, you may find the experience to be enjoyable. These do not measure up to the MGM features, but they are an OK time-waster that do feature some fascinating location photography.
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