Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


Glenn Morris and pal
TARZAN'S REVENGE (1938). Director: D. Ross Lederman.

Roger Reed (George Barbier of The Man Who Came to Dinner), his daughter Eleanor (Eleanor Holm), and her fiance, Nevin (George Meeker of Omoo-Omoo The Shark God), are in Africa to capture specimens for zoos. Along the way Eleanor offends nasty potentate, Ben Alleu Bey (C. Henry Gordon of Thirteen Women), who has her kidnapped for his harem. Tarzan (Glenn Morris) isn't crazy about animals being caged up and is even less crazy that his crush, Eleanor, has been captured by natives under the direction of Bey. Then there's the fact that the jealous and creepy Nevin has his own dastardly plans for the Ape Man. Tarzan's Revenge was 20th Century-Fox's answer to MGM's Tarzan films with Johnny Weissmuller, but this film, in addition to having lower production values, is much, much less entertaining, with slow pacing and a weak story line that hardly gives our hero any action. On the plus side, there is plenty of "local" color and a surprisingly elaborate Arabic city that may have been borrowed from an earlier picture. Olympic champion Glenn Morris speaks not one word as Tarzan -- although he does give out with a credible "yell" --  but he is appealing, unconventionally handsome, and plays a child-like version of the Ape Man. Scandalous Olympic swimming star Eleanor Holm exhibits genuine acting ability as the equally appealing, feisty, and likable Eleanor -- she and Tarzan meet cute when he pulls her out of a muddy river and winds up dumping her back in. The two have a sexy underwater swim later on. Morris and Holm both got such bad reviews (as did the film) that neither ever made another movie. Others in the cast include Joe Sawyer, and Hedda Hopper, who is little more than irritating as Eleanor's ever-complaining mother. A nice upbeat ending and a pleasant score by Hugo Riesenfeld.

Verdict: Lesser Tarzan produced by Sol Lesser. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Now this is a very good looking Tarzan I am also not familiar with. And this one also has Eleanor Holm, the poor man's Esther Williams? Obviously this is not an MGM movie. And Hedda Hopper too? I will definitely give it a look if I run across it!
- Chris

William said...

Yes, this is an intriguing oddity if nothing else.