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Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Romance  |  15 May 1948 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,560 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 7 critic

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 »

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Writers:

(original story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Brenda Joyce ...
George Zucco ...
Palanth, the High Priest
Andrea Palma ...
Fernando Wagner ...
Varga, Pearl Trader
Edward Ashley ...
Commissioner
John Laurenz ...
Benji
Gustavo Rojo ...
Tiko, Mara's Fiancé
Matthew Boulton ...
British Inspector-General
...
Mara
Edit

Storyline

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 Tarzan and Jane who reunite her with her chosen fiance. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SCORES OF AQUA-CUTIES...SLAVES TO A VILLAINIOUS IDOL'S WILL! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and the Mermaids  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Johnny Weissmuller's stunt double Ángel García allegedly was killed while performing the famous cliff dive into the ocean at Acapulco, Mexico. Local authorities rejected this claim as Hollywood publicity. Another source said Garcia survived the fall but died when the surf slammed him into the rocks. John Laurenz, who played the singing postman Benji, never made mention of any such incident in his popular radio program or in his article on the filming of this movie. No newspaper articles (Mexico, Hollywood or otherwise) from that time have been revealed noting the event. See more »

Goofs

Tarzan wears shoes in this movie, and the shoes have the ability to appear and disappear between shots. When he goes after Mara and her kidnappers, he has on what appear to be sandals. During the times he is in the cave, the shoes appear and disappear. Later on, when Tarzan is attacked by an octopus, he has no shoes on, and after he kills it, the shoes are back on his feet. See more »

Connections

Follows Tarzan and the Amazons (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh, Most Beautiful Mermaid
(uncredited)
Written by Sir Lancelot
Played on guitar and Sung by John Laurenz
See more »

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User Reviews

Beware of False Gods
18 April 2005 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS (RKO Radio, 1948), directed by Robert Florey, stars Johnny Weissmuller in what became his 12th and final performance as the Lord of the Jungle, and sixth under Sol Lesser's production for RKO. While this long running adventure series could have ended here, the Edgar Rice Burroughs character, having been on the screen since the silent movie days beginning with Elmo Lincoln in 1918, would go on vine swinging across the theater screen for another two decades with numerous and younger actors assuming the part, with Weissmuller, on record as being the one most associated with the role, not because he was the best (or was he?), but appearing in more "Tarzan" adventures and longer than any other actor.

As for the story starting with a narration followed by ten minute character introductions, Mara (Linda Christian), a beautiful maiden from the forbidden island, is forced by the High Priest (George Zucco) to become an unwilling bride of a feared island "God" Varga (Fernando Wagner), a villainous pearl trader, although she actually loves the exiled Tiko (Gustavo Bojo). Mara escapes Aquantinia and swims to the location of Tarzan (Johnny Weissmiller) and Jane (Brenda Joyce) who agree to assist her. After Mara is found, she is abducted and taken back to her island. Tarzan and Jane follow, are held prisoners. Following their escape, Tarzan intends to unmask the false god and expose the white men after their priceless pearls before Mara's wedding is to take place. Also featured in the cast are Edward Ashley (Balu)and Andrea Palmer (Luana).

In spite the fact that TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS, might have made Weissmuller's farewell performance into something special, its ordinary 68 minute storyline, which appears to have been revamped many times over the years, especially from the Maria Montez and Jon Hall South Seas adventures produced over at Universal through most of the 1940s, weakness dominates few of its strengths. Obvious changes were also being made at this time. Missing from the cast of regulars is Johnny Sheffield as Boy, who had outgrown his part. He is mentioned by Jane, as she writes a letter to him, to be attending school in England (a truant officer must have come for him after all these years in the jungle), leaving Tarzan and Jane with Cheetah to fill in the void. Along with the good and the not so good, this marks the first in the series since the early MGM days to be lensed on location rather than a closed set. Opening titles credit this with location scenes filmed in Acapulco and the studios at Churubusco and Mexico City, which is all well and good, but one would wonder why color photography wasn't an added factor to the expense of location scenes. Interestingly, the use of the footage lacks the substance of any indication of this being in Tarzan's native homeland of Africa. As for the featured players, George Zucco as the villainous high priest, is the only asset. One only wishes he had more scenes matching wits with Tarzan adding more interest to the story.

While the weakest in the series, TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS shouldn't be classified as the worst. Lacking more action than usual, one of its main faults is not so much as adding new characters to the story, but the extensive use of a singing mailman, played by John Lorenz as Benji (no, not in the form of the famous dog). Not truly categorized as a musical, it consists of numerous songs to make it so, including such forgettable tunes as, "I'm Taking a Letter to My Friend, Tarzan," "Oh, Most Beautiful Mermaid," "Fairwell, Fair Mermaid," "Let Us Hasten to Adventure" and "I'll Serenade You With My Guitar." A pity Tarzan doesn't get his chance to serenade Jane in a canoe surrounded by swimming native girls, which might have worked as a very silly highlight, but for what it is, TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS is so offbeat from its predecessors, lacking the standard use of animal stampedes, dangers setting place underwater (though there's a memorable cliff diving scene and added attraction of Tarzan fighting an octopus), the traditional Tarzan ape call, along with additional footage centered upon other actors bearing little or no interest to the viewer, of course with the exception of the characteristic Zucco.

Having played on commercial television since the 1960s as part of its "Tarzan" lineup, with the RKO Radio series never placed on video but onto DVD, TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS was, along with the other "Tarzan" adventures, presented on American Movie Classics cable channel (1998-2000) before moving to Turner Classic Movies(TCM premiere: June 25, 2011). As specified, TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS marked the end of an era for Weissmuller, who no longer was physically fit to appear in any more installments.

Considering his type-casting, he didn't end up collecting his unemployment check. Almost immediately, he found renewed success assuming the part as another jungle hero (fully clothed) in a brand new film series as JUNGLE JIM (1948 to 1955) for Columbia Pictures. Brenda Joyce would play Jane one more time for the next installment, TARZAN'S MAGIC FOUNTAIN (1949), introducing Lex Barker as the new (and younger) jungle man. (**1/2)


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