A shortage of zoo animals after World War II brings beautiful animal trainer Tanya, her financial backer and her cruel trail boss to the jungle. After negotiating a quota with the native ... See full summary »
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Arthur J. Flaven,
Kamuela C. Searle,
P. Dempsey Tabler,
Hunters trespass into Sukulu country, where animals are sacred, posing as photographers. Their work has the blessing of the U.N.'s Dr. Celliers, close friend of the Sukulu chief. The ... See full summary »
Boy is away at school in England. The high priest is trying to force a young girl to marry an evil pearl trader posing as the god Balu. She escapes, is recaptured and is finally rescued by ... See full summary »
A shortage of zoo animals after World War II brings beautiful animal trainer Tanya, her financial backer and her cruel trail boss to the jungle. After negotiating a quota with the native king, they take more animals than allowed. Tarzan intervenes. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Diverting, Imaginative; Stunning Patricia Morison & Kurt Neumann's Skill
By the time "Tarzan and the Huntress" was produced by Sol Lesser with Kurt Neumann, one of my favorite Hollywood talents, the jungle man series was fifteen years old. By saddling the jungle man from the outset with Jane, the MGM executives committed the same error Edgar Rice Burroughs had made in his original creation. There being few excuses to take Tarzan far enough from home to find movie-length adventures, it became necessary to bring those making his actions necessary to him. These included Nazis, strange tribes, but most often unscrupulous hunters of one variety or another. In this unusually-well-directed and attractive entry to the series, the chief of invaders is a far-from-evil but uncaring female, played by gorgeous Patricia Morison. It is this aspect of the film that was copied so often later on; until then, virtually every illicit jungle hunter hand been male, and the only females in the jungle had been lost white goddesses. Fashionable Tanya Rollins is therefore a very important figure in film history. Her hired guide, Barton MacLane, is the real villain of this piece. As a champion of the wild heritage against a flawed pseudo-Christian civilization, Tarzan refuses to let anyone trap animals on his side of the river (never identified). On the other side of the river, the expedition's leaders have struck a bargain with a prince, son of the king (Charles Trowbridge). The bargain is broken, when MacLane has the prince killed, in order to deal with his more amenable brother. Instead of taking two of every animal, the expedition can then take unlimited animals to captivity for remunerative sale. When Tarzan learns that Cheetah has been captured and smells out what is going on, he decides to intervene, at great risk because the bad guys have rifles. This is champion swimmer Johnny Weissmuller's eleventh turn as the King of the Jungle; he is still stolid and sometimes impressive, especially when he has Brenda Joyce as a blonde Jane or raven-haired Morison to play off. And Johnny Sheffield as Tarzan's adopted son, Boy, has become by then an attractive and grown-up young man, on the verge of his own series as the sourceless but likable "Bomba" the Jungle Boy. Others appearing in the cast include John Warburton as Carl Morley, Wallace Scott as Smithers, and Mickey Simpson as Monak. And Cheetah the chimpanzee is given a very large role in the film, almost as an agent of Nature allegorically playing the nemesis to Ms. Rollins' nefarious hopes. The fact that Morison never wanted her men to kill Tarzan, or anyone else, excuses her complicity in what they do to gain unearned wealth; there are exciting scenes as Tarzan bedevils, is nearly killed by and then finally overcomes the true villains. But the highlight of the film, as anyone not suffering myopic of the value-system, should be able to know is the loveliness and performance by Patricia Morison. She has several scenes in a ten;t and when she undresses as a silhouetted figure lighted by a lamp within, or when she argues with Tarzan, or when she visits his home and is bedeviled by Cheetah who steals her lipstick and other implements, she steals the film completely. Like brilliant and vivacious Greer Garson before her, she seems to be beloved by U.S. moviegoers only if they are educated to ignore her British accent; compared for instance to brassy and passable actress Susan Hayward who came along at the same time, she is a gem, classically trained and brilliant either at acting or underplaying, as here. This is a often-imitated film, a milestone of adventure-level fun and adroit characterization; it is very popular with fans, thanks to brilliant director Kurt Neumann, who also co-produced. The authors get lots of fun out of an only-passable story line in every scene; Bbt to this film we owe "Tarzan the Magnificent", "Tarzan and the Lost Safari", "Jivaro" and a number of other films that finally saw a female in a jungle as something other than a danger or a distraction. The music by talented Paul Sawtell and the luminous cinematography by Archie Stout are rich assets here, by my lights. Art direction by McClure Capps and the costumes, especially Ms. Morison's by Harold Clandenning, add to the film's values. The script by Jerry Gruskin and Rowland Leigh is serviceable and some of the dialogue I find to be above-average. Wallace Scott and Ted Hecht were also featured; look for a well-done elephant stampede and Ms. Morison; they are for me the highlights of a seminal and enjoyable exotic-locale adventure.
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