Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tarzan Double Feature (both 1943)

Over the last few months I’ve been slowly watching the entire run of Tarzan films from the first MGM film onward with my dad. The plan has been to watch all of the films in order filling in the sequence with the earlier and concurrent films and serials (Burroughs sold the rights to the character to several producers at once).

Today we’re going to do a double feature of Tarzan films. These are the first two films that were made after the series left MGM and moved over to RKO. They do not feature Jane, Maureen O’Sullivan remained with MGM (and one suspects that she was tired of the series having been written out of the series in Tarzan Finds a Son, only to be brought back by a changed ending.) Having gone though most of the Johnny Weismuller films at this point I have to say these are two of the more fun entries in the long running series. Actually they are the start of a six picture run where the series became more consistent in the quality and the plotting. Its as if Sol Lesser at RKO understood what made the best of the six previous films work and went with that. There is high adventure, some comedy and just a hint of romance both with the absent Jane and the female co-stars. These are very much program films and while they may not say reach the heights of Tarzan and his Mate they do entertain the hell out of you.

Jane is in London, so boy and Tarzan must take on a group of Nazi's who invade the jungle, and more importantly a hidden city where a friend of Tarzan lives. Its war time action and daring do as Tarzan refuses to get involved until his family and friends are put under the gun by the bad guy Nazi's. Its over done and a great deal of fun with several bits that must have brought cheers (Tarzan go to War Now) and laughs (the final fade out). Its clear its no longer MGM but the films are still a blast (and I don't think we hear the Tarzan yell at any point.)

Jane is still in London when she sends word to Tarzan to make up some of the medicine for jungle fever. Heading out with Boy across the desert they run into some no good guys trying to capture a horse. Shooing them off they make the acquaintance of a female magician on a mission for a sheik. They all end up in a city where the no good guys are holding sway over the local ruler. Tarzan and the magician end up in trouble and it isn't long before there is a chase into the desert which ends in a jungle where giant monsters lurk (don't ask just go with it). Good action adventure sometimes gets a bit side tracked, however when its on point it's solid entertainment, even the giant monsters which come off as pure hokey fun.

Both films are on the first DVD of the second box set of films of Johnny Weismuller films put out by MGM. When my Dad and I put the films on the other night we did so with the intention of just watching one but we had such a good time with Tarzan Triumphs that we watched the next one. I suspect that if you pick up the box set and you pop the disc in you’ll end up watching them in sequence as well.

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