Zandra, white princess of a lost civilization, comes to Tarzan for help when Nazis invade the jungle with plans to conquer her people and take their wealth. Tarzan, the isolationist, ...
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Zandra, white princess of a lost civilization, comes to Tarzan for help when Nazis invade the jungle with plans to conquer her people and take their wealth. Tarzan, the isolationist, becomes involved after the Nazis shoot at him and capture Boy: "Now Tarzan make war!" Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Produced during the war, the plot was very anti-German. The film was directed by Austrian born Wilhelm Thiele, credited as William Thiele. See more »
When Tarzan is fighting the Nazis, he rips the magazine off a machine gun and tosses it to the ground. A moment later, one of the Nazis starts climbing to the top of the building to use the gun, and you can see the magazine still there. Yet when the Nazi arrives at the gun, the magazine is missing again. See more »
[Zandra arrives at the river Tarzan is swimming, wearing Jane's clothes]
[hidden, to Zandra]
Smile! Wave to him!
Zandra! Zandra swim?
Go on! Swim with him!
See more »
TARZAN TRIUMPHS (RKO Radio, 1943), directed by Wilheim Thiele, the seventh in the long running jungle series starring Johnny Weissmuller, the first of the Sol Lesser productions distributed by RKO Radio, finds Tarzan assuming new territory and dangerous ground at the RKO sound-stages following six successful "Tarzan" adventures distributed by MGM between 1932 to 1942. The production values no way equaled the status MGM put into its series, however, the format used at RKO virtually follows the same pattern from the previous films, with slight alterations to the "Tarzan" character, such as the use of a new soundtrack for the Tarzan yell, heard twice here, unlike those many have become accustomed to from the earlier episodes. Weissmuller's Tarzan continues to speak in mono syllables ("Boy stay! Tarzan get." or "Tarzan thank," etc.) rather than incomplete sentences. Along with Weissmuller, Johnny Sheffield, who plays Boy, son of Tarzan, along and their pet chimpanzee, Cheetah, each resume their characters with much familiarity as enacted at MGM. Tarzan's mate, Jane, played six times previously by Maureen O'Sullivan, had broken away from the series, thus having her "Jane" character omitted here and in the next entry. For this outing, Frances Gifford substitutes as the heroine called Zandra. Due to Gifford's near physical resemblance to Maureen O'Sullivan makes one wonder why Gifford wasn't considered to play Jane. For now, Tarzan and Boy team up with the support of new characters and Nazi villains worked into the story rather than hunters and native tribes.
The story opens with Boy (Johnny Sheffield) leaving the tree-house and riding his elephant, accompanied by his chimpanzee pet, Cheetah, to meet with Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller), who had earlier gone to the seacoast to obtain a letter written to him by Jane, who's away visiting with relatives in war-torn England. Along the way, the ever curious Boy gets himself in trouble when wanting to take a closer look at the lost city of Palandria located at the bottom of a cliff. Falling off the crevasse, landing on top of a semi loose branch, Zandra (Frances Gifford), the white princess of that lost civilization, comes to his rescue. In helping Boy, the two find themselves trapped on the narrow ledge, that is, until Tarzan arrives in time to save the day. As Tarzan, Boy and Zandra part company, Zandra returns to her civilization where her people welcome some strangers, Nazis who have parachuted down from their airplane. In time, the welcomed guests "repay" their friendly hospitality by turning the peaceful community into slaves while taking possession of their wealth in tin and oil. In the meantime, Lieutenant Scheldon Schmidt (Rex Williams), who had also parachuted from an airplane, injures his leg while holding onto his shortwave radio. Tarzan rescues the German youth from a near drowning. With the help of Boy, they take the injured party to their tree-house for rest and recovery. Because Cheetah has taken and hidden the coil needed to make radio communication to his homeland, Schmidt stirs trouble by chasing after and shooting Cheeta. Sensing danger, Boy's elephant comes to Cheetah's rescue by forcing both Nazi and heavy boulder over a cliff, killing the abductor. Because of the Nazi invasion in her city, Zandra comes to Tarzan for help. Tarzan succeeds in doing away with the Germans by leading them to the river where they are attacked by cannibal fish. While Tarzan feels the Nazi invasion in Palandria does not really concern him, Zandra feels it does, knowing that as long as the Nazis are around, no one is safe. Only after the Nazis invade Tarzan's domain, with its leader, Von Reichart (Stanley Ridges) abducting Boy and holding him prisoner in Nazi headquarters for not revealing the whereabouts of the coil for the radio does Tarzan begin to realize and cry out, "Now, Tarzan make war!!!" (It's been said by Bob Dorian, former host of American Movie Classics, that this scene alone found audiences in movie theaters cheering and applauding).
An average Tarzan adventure by today's standards with a timely message of how an invasion of a territory and war amongst a peaceful people does concern everybody. As with the Tarzan character, who lives a secluded life in his little habitat, with his philosophy, "Nazi leave me alone, Tarzan leave them alone," all that changes when Nazis take over his territory and become a danger to Boy. Against all odds, such as being held prisoner himself, tied up against the pole to await execution by firing squad at dawn does Tarzan manage to become a one man revolution. Tarzan, who fights to survive while the enemy, the Nazis in this case, survive to fight, brings forth his own war for that, as quoted by Tarzan, "In jungle, the strong always win."
The supporting players include Sig Rumann as the Head Nazi; Philip Van Zandt as Captain Bausch; Pedro De Cordoba as Patriarch; and Stanley Brown as Archmet. Frances Gifford, who makes her sole venture in the series, gets some screen time in a stretched out segment filling in for Jane by swimming with Tarzan, and preparing dinner for him and Boy.
As with the entire Tarzan movie series that has spanned decades, TARZAN TRIUMPHS, at 76 minutes, aired frequently on commercial television for many years before shifting over to the American Movie Classics cable channel (1997-2000) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: May 14, 2011). Unlike the MGM entries, the six features made at RKO Radio starring Weissmuller from 1943 to 1948, were never distributed onto video cassette but later onto DVD around 2008. Next chapter: TARZAN'S DESERT MYSTERY, where Tarzan and Boy (minus Jane) encounter more Nazis once more but with a few added surprises along the way. (**)
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