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Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 5 February 1949 (USA)
An aviatrix emerges from the jungle looking as young as she was when her plane went down many years before. Unscrupulous hunters discover that this is due to a secret fountain of youth. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Mr. Dodd
...
Douglas Jessup
Ted Hecht ...
Pasco
...
Siko
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Storyline

An aviatrix emerges from the jungle looking as young as she was when her plane went down many years before. Unscrupulous hunters discover that this is due to a secret fountain of youth. Tarzan tries to keep the hunters from finding the hidden valley setting of the fountain. The flyer ages as the effects of the fountain wear off. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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New Daring ! New Dangers !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

5 February 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tarzan and the Arrow of Death  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elmo Lincoln: the first actor to play Tarzan on film, as a fisherman repairing his net. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, Cheeta (who is an ape) drinks the elixir. She does not turn into a baby chimp, she becomes a monkey with a tail. The Fountain of Youth retards aging, it would not cause evolutionary regression. See more »

Connections

Referenced in La Dolce Vita (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

Tarzan and the Fountain of Youth
20 August 2005 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

TARZAN'S MAGIC FOUNTAIN (RKO Radio, 1949), directed by Lee Sholem, introduces Lex Barker to the role of Tarzan, and marks the fifth and final performance of blonde actress Brenda Joyce as Jane. With Lex Barker as a new Tarzan after 16 years and 12 installments starring Johnny Weissmuller at both MGM and RKO studios, this must have been a hard act to follow, especially for Barker, since comparisons are evident. With Barker being younger and slimmer to the slightly taller but recently heavier and somewhat older Weissmuller's carnation as the lord of the jungle, his debut into the series is one of the better entries.

For TARZAN'S MAGIC FOUNTAIN, Tarzan (Lex Barker) discovers a woman named Gloria James (Evelyn Ankers) and takes her over to his tree house where his mate, Jane (Brenda Joyce), remembers her as the famous aviatrix whose airplane had disappeared into the jungle some twenty years ago. What has surprised Jane is how Gloria has remained looking so young for a woman her age. It is learned that Gloria had been found and living in the secret valley of eternal youth. Things go well until Donald Trask (Albert Dekker) and Mr. Dodd (Charles Drake), a couple of unscrupulous hunters, enter the scene, invading Tarzan's territory and causing trouble when they learn of and wanting to be taken to the lost valley of eternal youth.

Supporting players include Alan Napier as Douglas Jessup, Gloria's former beau; Ted Hecht as Pasco; Henry Brandon as Siko; and David Bond as The High One, among others.

What makes TARZAN'S MAGIC FOUNTAIN interesting is the concept borrowed from James Hilton's novel, "Lost Horizon." Evelyn Ankers, best known for her co-starring roles in numerous horror films for Universal in the 1940s, the best known being THE WOLF MAN (1941), assumes the part of a woman suggested on an actual lost aviatrix, Amelia Earhart (who had disappeared in 1937, never to be seen or heard from again), is quite satisfactory as the middle-aged woman who hasn't aged a day in two decades. Only after she has departed the land of eternal youth does she begin to slowly age, as the Maria character from "Lost Horizon," however, not as extreme. It's not so bad in borrowing from a classic novel to provide new developments to the long running "Tarzan" series, however, it seems a pity that the writers didn't rise above the juvenile standards and predictable screenplay the starts off so well then simmers down midway to what might have been the first superior Tarzan adventure in nearly a decade. While it includes Tarzan getting into the swing of things by traveling from tree to tree on the vine (seen through the opening title credits), giving out his ape call, there's also the traditional Tarzan defeats including his battle with a nasty torch carrying villain (Henry Kulky) for beating an animal and a man below his standards, and on the lighter side, Tarzan's pet chimpanzee Cheta providing the usual comedy relief.

As with the cinematic "James Bond" character a decade into the future, the "Tarzan" series would resume with different actors playing the part, and while many claim Sean Connery to be the best "James Bond," and Weissmuller the best "Tarzan," these two fictional creations have become the most recognizable characters of all time. While Weissmuller's departure as Tarzan might have put an end to the series altogether, Tarzan's box-office appeal was still successful, successful enough to keep it going as long as possible. Whether Lex Barker could be categorized as one of the better or least successful Tarzans is a matter of opinion. The duration of the series in which he appeared might have suffered not only for its lack of originality, but the non-consistency of stories and different actresses portraying Jane. Brenda Joyce bowed out of the series and movie making altogether following the release of TARZAN'S MAGIC FOUNTAIN, going on record in the Tarzan log books as the only Jane to appear opposite two different Tarzans, Weissmuller and Barker. There would be other Janes, but the redheaded Maureen O'Sullivan remains most recognized, playing her six times to Brenda Joyce's five. After four more future installments, Lex Barker would hang up his loincloth, leading the way other actors to keep Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan alive.

While TARZAN'S MAGIC FOUNTAIN was never distributed on video cassette, (DVD distribution came around 2009), it became one of the series of Tarzan adventures in its lineup from the 1930s to the late 1960s to be presented on American Movie Classics cable channel (1997-2000) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: July 2, 2011). As former AMC host Bob Dorian had pointed out in one of his profiles about this movie, production began as "Tarzan and the Arrow of Death," and the movie's very first Tarzan, Elmo Lincoln, first introduced on screen in 1918, appears briefly as a fisherman. Interesting bits of Tarzan trivia.(**) Next installment: TARZAN AND THE SLAVE GIRL (RKO, 1950).


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