Tarzan & the Amazons
Director: Kurt Neumann.

Director: Robert Florey

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Tarzan & the AmazonsTarzan & the Amazons (1945) is one of the better Johnny Weissmuller episodes, co-starring Johnny Sheffield as Boy. Jane was for the first time played by Brenda Joyce.

This episode regards the Amazons' hidden city of Palmyria (named after the historical Queen Zenobia's capital of the Empire of the East). Their queen is played by the great Russian actress Maria Ouspenskaya (she also played Maleva in The Wolf Man (1941) & Frankenstein vs the Wolf Man (1943). Shirley O'Hara is Athena, with more than two-dozen six-foot-tall "glamazons" posturing here & there, & even contributing to action sequences.

Tarzan saves the life of the Amazon warrior Athena, & helps her back to her hidden city. As a jungle guardian Tarzan keeps the secret of the Amazon capital's location, but Boy misunderstands the importance of not revealing all of Africa's secrets. Boy later leads archeologists to Palmyria where they are promptly taken captive.

Athena, not wanting harm to come to Boy, turns everyone loose, but Boy has befriended some real putzes who won't leave until they have stolen the Amazons' treasure.

The Leopard WomanGiving the film a little slack for the time it was made in, & for being aimed at children rather than adults, it's really rather good, though it helps to have some nostalgic fondness for Weissmuller's portrayal of Tarzan to find it so.

Tarzan & the Leopard Woman was inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1935 novel Tarzan & The Leopard Men. It starred Johnny Weissmuller as guess who, Brenda Joyce in her second outing as Jane, Johnny Sheffield as Boy, & Acquanetta as the head of the leopard cult, played in campy classic Jungle Girl mode.

Tarzan & the Leopard WomanAcquanetta was an aboriginal actress marketed as "The Venezualan Volcano" though she was part Cherokee & born in Wyoming. She appeared in such films as Captive Wild Woman (1943), Jungle Woman (1951) & The Lost Continent (1951). President Wilson asked her to be the goodwill ambassador to Mexico.

All the tribal peoples are white in this seemingly alternate-world Africa. The leopard cult does not want civilization to penetrate into their jungle. The film's attitude is that Europeans can go wherever they want & any tribe that disagrees is essentiall a bad tribe. This cult likes to put on leopard skins & savagely kill everyone in passing caravans.

The story manages a bondage & discipline scene with Tarzan captured by the cult priestess Lea, & there's bonus of buff boy wrestling for Johnny Sheffield & Tommy Cook.

The bad tribe will not prevail, & Cheetah the chimpanzee will once again succeed at comedy relief, so it's all here.

Tarzan & the HuntressThe eleventh & penultimate Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan feature was Tarzan & the Huntress (1947), again with Brenda Joyce as Jane, & Johnny Sheffield appears for the last time as the decreasingly boyish Boy (his age wouldn't keep him from making several Bomba the Jungle Boy films once the Weissmuller Tarzan gig wound down).

The last quarter-dozen films had a pattern of great female second-leads -- the Amazon, the priestess of the leopard cult, the "mermaids," & for Huntress animal trainer Tanya Rawlins (Patricia Morison).

Tanya is a "bring 'em back alive" type huntress gathering specimens for zoos. She's a villain, but hardly the worst villain imaginable unless one despises zoos. But some of those who work with her are very bad. Among the animals they have captured are long time friends of Tarzan, including Cheetah the combination chimpanzee & stand-up comic.

Tarzan & the MermaidsThere's a parallel plot to do with African kingship that isn't very interesting. It is overall a workmanlike episode, but it has a pleasant look.

Johnny Weissmuller's last outing as Tarzan isn't such a great film, & Johnny is much less svelt than when he started out in the series.

Brenda Joyce plays Jane for the fourth time. Boy has been sent to England for a proper education, really to just get rid of the dead weight of his character, since already for a couple films he had been too old to be playing a kid.

Tarzan & the MermaidsTarzan & the Mermaids (1948) is extremely short & yet often the main cast is not center stage, as we follow the singing mailman (John Lorenz) performing several unmemorable children's diddies.

It's kind of sad RKO didn't want to conclude the series on an ever so slightly larger budget. But it does have some imaginative bits in the story. A coastal Lost Race has been duped into worshipping an outsider (villain specialist George Zucco) whom Tarzan must overcome, since the hidden people are too spooked to do anything for themselves.

The coastal island queendom is called Aquatania. The leading Aquatanians were played by Mexican actresses Linda Christian (later Mrs. Tyrone Power) as Mara & Andrea Palma as Mara's mom Luana. Though supposedly set in Africa, the on-location filming in Mexico inspired the use of MesoAmerican imagery for Aquatania. The sets for Aquatania are most appealing & more thought went into the look of the film than in most episodes.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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