TARZAN’S SAVAGE FURY (director: Cy Endfield; screenwriters: based on the characters of Edgar Rice Burroughs/Cyril Hume/Nans Jacoby/Shirley White; cinematographer: Karl Struss; editor: Frank Sullivan; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Lex Barker (Tarzan), Dorothy Hart (Jane), Patric Knowles (Edwards), Charles Korvin (Rokov), Tommy Carlton (Joseph Martin), Darby Jones (Witch Doctor), Bill Walker (Native Chief), Peter Mamakos (Pilot); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sol Lesser; RKO; 1952)
“This is the 16th Tarzan picture in the series.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This is the 16th Tarzan picture in the series. In 1949 Lex Barker took over for Johnny Weissmuller, and this is Lex’s fourth of the five Tarzan’s he made. Cy Endfield (“Zulu”/”Try and Get Me”/”Hell Drivers”)directs without adding much to the formula in this so-so version, while writers Cyril Hume, Nans Jacoby, and Shirley White make the villain as usual a greedy European who comes to the jungle to exploit it by stealing a tribe’s diamonds.Dorothy Hart makes her debut as Jane; while Tommy Carlton plays the Boy role, but as another orphan. This film makes reference that Tarzan had a noble birth–his English father was Lord Greystoke and that makes the ‘ape man’ the Earl of Greystoke–a fact no previous film mentioned.
An expedition into the African jungle by Lord Oliver Greystoke, another Englishman Edwards (Patric Knowles) and an evil Russian spy named Rokov (Charles Korvin), who are searching for Lord Oliver’s cousin Tarzan. They plan to elicit Tarzan’s help to lead them to diamonds. When Rokov doesn’t think Oliver has the heart to go through with the plan, he shoots him in the back and leaves him to a lion. Edwards takes Oliver’s passport and is coerced into posing as cousin Oliver.
The phonies hook up with Tarzan in his innovative treetop house, and only talk Tarzan into being their guide because the naive Jane thinks the diamonds are meant for England–to help them obtain military might to better protect themselves. Also along for the trek into dangerous tribal territory is the playful chimp Cheetah and a gritty young orphan, Joseph Martin (Tommy Carlton), who Tarzan rescued from an abusive tribe that was using him to bait crocodiles.
A diary taken from the real cousin indicates Tarzan’s father was a missionary worker in the early 1920s among the fierce Wazuri tribe, who died in the region and his son grew up alone with the animals in the jungle.
Tarzan doesn’t like the Europeans, but leads them through the jungle and then through a drought-stricken plain, until they are are captured by the Wazuris and held hostage. While Tarzan has an elderly tribesman explain to the chief that Tarzan’s father was a holy man and a friend to the tribe, Rokov kills the witch doctor and steals the valuable diamonds. He contacts by radio a pilot in Randini, his cohort, who plans to land in a jungle clearing and fly the two thieves out of the hot spot. But not so fast my friends, they still have to deal with Tarzan.
REVIEWED ON 7/25/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ