18 January 2015 | utgard14
"Why Tarzan kill Nazis?"
The seventh Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan film and the first from RKO. It's also the first without Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane. The role would eventually be recast but here we are told that Jane is visiting in England, where she keeps Tarzan and Boy (Johnny Sheffield) abreast of world events through a letter. Since this one features a topical WW2 backdrop, it has one of the more artfully crafted scripts of the later Tarzan sequels. Tarzan here is an isolationist and, like America at the outset of the war, he has no interest in meddling in the affairs of outsiders. The outsiders in this case being the people of the jungle city Palandrya who ask for help when Nazis parachute in and take over, as they were wont to do. But when the Nazis kidnap Boy, Tarzan declares "Now Tarzan make war!" and rallies his animal allies to fight the invaders. And boy, do they fight! This is one of the more violent Tarzan entries. Didn't bother me in the slightest watching Tarzan kill Nazis but it will likely scar politically sensitive types.
Weismuller and Sheffield both make the transition from MGM to RKO, where they are given more lines than in the MGM films. Also carrying over from the MGM series is the ever-lovable Cheeta, fun as always and more than a match for the evil Nazis. There has to be a pretty female in the movie, even without Jane. So enter lovely Frances Gifford playing Zandra, the princess of Palandrya who comes to Tarzan looking for help. She has good chemistry with Weissmuller and even gets a swimming scene with him. Sig Ruman, Stanley Ridges, and Philip Van Zandt play some of the baddies.
As for the WW2 elements, how you feel about most American films made during this period will tell you how you'll feel about this. Unfortunately, if you look around IMDb, you'll find a lot of people who seem to really hate movies that were supportive of the Allies. They spit the word 'propaganda' at these films with such contempt it makes you wonder if these people, most of whom claim to be American, would rather the Axis had won. It's pretty gross. Anyway, if you're one of these types you won't like this movie. But chances are, if you're that way, you don't like Tarzan to begin with and believe yourself to be above these movies. I guess you watched them ironically or something, right? Whatever. For the rest of you, this is a fun start to the RKO series. It's solid escapist fare. Not as good as the MGM films but I'm never bored by them. Love that end scene.