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Professor Campbell's expedition into the hills of Libya obtains a papyrus which might reveal the hiding place of the Golden Tablets of Hippocrates, containing lost medical secrets. Also in the region is intrepid Nyoka Gordon, still seeking her father, lost on a previous expedition. She alone can translate the papyrus, which directs our heroes through deadly perils (including the Tunnel of Bubbling Death) into the land of the Tuaregs. Opposing them are Vultura, Queen of the Desert, and her Arab ally Cassib, both greedy for the treasure... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In chapter 1 when Larry is fighting the gorilla, the gorilla grabs the saber and breaks it, but the sound when it breaks is wood, not steel, and when it hits the floor, the sound is also of wood. See more »
Closing credits are written in the sand. See more »
"Perils of Nyoka" was a follow-up to Republic's classic serial "Jungle Girl" released the previous year. The latter film is widely regarded as one of the best serials of all time. So this one had a hard act to follow.
While "Jungle Girl" was set in the jungle, this one is supposed to be set in desert country. In fact, each chapter opens with a scene of men on camels riding across a desert. In the actual story, the desert is nowhere to be seen and the entire story is played against a backdrop that looks suspiciously like one of Republic's "B" westerns. Actually the picture plays more like a western than a sand and sandal epic.
In the previous serial, Nyoka had a different surname and her father was murdered early on. In this story, Nyoka (Kay Aldridge) has acquired a new name, Gordon, and a new father, Professor Gordon (Robert Strange).
The "McGuffin" in this film is the Lost Tablets of Hippocrates which hold the secret to curing diseases such as cancer, as well as, identifying the location of a rich treasure. An expedition led by Nyoka in search of her lost father includes Professor Larry Grayson (Clayton Moore), his assistant Red Davis (Billy Benedict), Professor Campbell (Forbes Murray) and others including a fifth columnist Torrini (Tristram Coffin).
Opposing them is the evil Vultura (Lorna Gray) and her chief henchman Cassab (Charles Middleton). Vultura and her pet gorilla operate from her temple. The usual battles and cliffhangers ensue. Nyoka finds her father who has amnesia and has been leading an arab tribe called the Tuaregs. He regains his memory and joins the expedition to find the lost tablets.
Needless to say they find the tablets. They change hands back and forth until good triumphs over evil in the final chapter.
As with all Republic serials, the stunt work is superb. Dave Sharpe can be visibly seen doubling Moore in the action sequences. Also hidden among the endless supply of henchmen are stuntmen Yakima Canutt and Tom Steele. Also in the cast are George J. Lewis as one of Vultura's henchmen, Kenne Duncan as Nyoka's henchman, John Davidson as a Tuareg chief, Forrest Taylor as the man who deciphers the tablets and Jay Silverheels as another henchie.
The costume worn by Aldridge is much less revealing than the one worn by the lovely Gray, who exhibits a lot more leg than the heroine. Aldridge would go on to make a couple of more serials and then disappear from the screen. Lorna Gray would become Adrian Booth and enjoy a long career as one of Republic's leading ladies. Although they don't appear together, Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels would re-unite as The Lone Ranger and Tonto on TV a few years later. Moore also appeared in several more serials and "B" westerns after WWII. Middleton is best remembered as "Ming the Merciless" in the Flash Gordon serials. Billy Benedict would turn up in the "Bowery Boys" series a few years later.
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