TARZAN AND THE GREEN GODDESS (directors: Edward Kull/Wilbur McGaugh-uncredited; screenwriter: Chas. F. Royal/characters by Edgar Rice Burrough; cinematographers: Ernest Smith/Edward Kull; editor: Thomas Neff; cast: Herman Brix (Tarzan), Ula Holt (Ula Vale), Frank Baker (Major Martling), Lew Sargent (George), Don Castello (Raglan), Jack Mower (Simon Blade), Earl Dwire (Scientist); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating: NR; TCM; 1938)
“One of the lesser films in the Tarzan series.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
It’s a sequel to The New Adventures of Tarzan, and told as if it were a serial. Herman Brix, aka Bruce Bennett, plays a robust Tarzan. Too bad little else in the film is robust. The Apeman for the first and only time in a film speaks an articulate English (as in the book) and appears as an educated man. The film was produced by Edgar Rice Burrough’s production company and filmed on location in the Guatemalan jungles, lending it a bit of realism.Though entertaining as hokum, it was so poorly produced, directed, written and acted that it comes off as a dismal and stilted film–one of the lesser films in the Tarzan series.
Tarzan is in Guatemala to help the expedition of British Major Martling (Frank Baker) recover the stolen ancient Mayan relic called the Green Goddess, which is used for idol worship by jungle natives in the Dead City. The black robed worshipers are unaware that inside the idol is a deadly secret formula to manufacture a super-explosive, that’s invaluable as a military weapon to governments. Arch-villain Raglan (Don Castello) is aware of the formula and orders his goons to steal the idol from the Major. A frisky Tarzan must come to the rescue again, after retrieving the idol just before for the Major. Tarzan tracks Raglan across the Guatemalan jungle, as he flees with the idol but not with the code book that deciphers the inscriptions on the Green Goddess. Anyone not knowing the correct combination will not be able to crack the code and harm will come to them as they fumble around trying to get the formula.
Tarzan seems to get in many tussles where he takes on large groups of men. In the confusing plot, Raglan’s unscrupulous business partner Simon Blade (Jack Mower) shows up as a captain whose boat has been chartered by Major Martling and his white woman ally, Ula Vale (Ula Holt), to carry the Green Goddess to Mantique. A storm at sea prevents the theft of the idol, and after a few more heroics by Tarzan we’re left to observe Ula at a ceremony at Greystoke, Tarzan’s English estate, destroying the formula. She claims to do it because no one can be trusted with such a powerful weapon.
REVIEWED ON 4/16/2012 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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