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Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943)

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A letter from Jane, who is nursing British troops, asks Tarzan's help in obtaining a malaria serum extractable from jungle plants. Tarzan and Boy set out across the desert looking for the ... See full summary »


(as William Thiele)


(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943)

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Complete credited cast:
Connie Bryce
Johnny Sheffield ...
Paul Hendrix
Joe Sawyer ...
Karl Straeder
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Sheik Abdul El Khim
Robert Lowery ...
Prince Selim
Frank Puglia ...
Philip Van Zandt ...
Undetermined Secondary Role (scenes deleted)


A letter from Jane, who is nursing British troops, asks Tarzan's help in obtaining a malaria serum extractable from jungle plants. Tarzan and Boy set out across the desert looking for the plants and wind up ruining a German's attempt to capture a wild horse. They arrive in an Arab city and rescue a stranded American lady magician, sentenced to be hanged for carrying a secret message to the Sheik. To obtain the plants, Tarzan must fight prehistoric monsters, Nazis, and so on. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

desert | nazi | horse | sheik | giant lizard | See more »


CHEER as Boy and Cheetah outwit Tarzan's captors! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 April 1944 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan's Desert Mystery  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Tarzan and Boy walk across the hot, sandy desert on their way to get the medicine from the jungle, they both walk across it in their bare feet. Sand often gets extremely hot out in the desert, and both of them should be suffering from burns on the bottoms of their feet, but they do not. See more »


Features One Million B.C. (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

A Tarzan adventure in a desert with mysterious creatures and plants.
6 June 2006 | by (Myanmar) – See all my reviews

Edger Rice Burrough's Tarzan was never meant to be muscular although as portrayed by Elmo Lincoln, Frank Merrill and Gordon Scott's Tarzan was indeed very much so. Young Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan was lithe, strong and athletic with a beautiful manly body. In Tarzan and the Desert Mystery, Johnny Weissmuller looked big , strong and the way he lifted the Arabs --accompanying the American girl magician Nancy Kelly who was providing a free performance in the middle of a desert-- and threw them by mistake despite protests from Kelly was very impressive and entertaining. The second scene that was equally entertaining was the scene in which Tarzan was attacked after being falsely accused of stealing the stallion. Here we find Tarzan throwing the opponents about like little toys and fighting like a majestic lion. I think only Weissmuller could give such a splendid performance. He looked every inch a Tarzan and I should think he was much better built than perhaps Lincoln and Scott. Scott had weight lifter's build and became an extremely believable Tarzan in later films and Lincoln so long as he was in the jungle proved to be a very popular Tarzan with the moviegoers. Nancy Kelly's performance was very humorous and at times very very perceptive. Johnny Sheffield's performance as boy was as to expected , excellent. Cheeta was a great fun to watch and interestingly besides the usual quota of animal extras viz lions, elephants, wild horses, monkeys a number of mysterious prehistoric creatures were included and also a gigantic spider. The stallion that Tarzan rode added an extra element of interest and a novel feature and instead of stampeding wild elephants we have horses stampeding in this movie. The story is quite what one could expect if one is familiar with Newspaper Tarzan Comic Strips as drawn by Hogarth, Manning, Celardo and Foster. These news paper comic strips gave Tarzan a personality and ultimately made it popular enough to be made into movies. The story is a good change but what one could expect for a good Tarzan yarn. Another feature one notices in this film is instead of the " repetitious" vine swinging one finds in in some of excellent MGM films the vine swinging is a refreshing change in this RKO film. I enjoyed it very much and it is an excellent fare for the whole family. I have seen it several times.

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