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  Tarzan and the Huntress Wild, Wildlife
Year: 1947
Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce, Johnny Sheffield, Patricia Morison, Barton MacLane, John Warburton, Charles Trowbridge, Ted Hecht, Wallace Scott
Genre: AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cheeta the chimp has found a bee hive in a tree, and helps herself to the honey there until the bees notice what she's up to and give chase; the animal eludes all but one of them which gives her a sting, much to the amusement of Boy (Johnny Sheffield). When Jane (Brenda Joyce) calls them, it's because it's time to head off to a party: the ruler of the nearby kingdom, King Farrod (Charles Trowbridge), is having his annual birthday celebration and Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) wishes to take his family to pay tribute. But there are other visitors on the way...

Tarzan and the Huntress marked the final appearance of Sheffield in his role as Boy, and little wonder when you see him here and muse he really should have been called Man by this stage. For Weissmuller it was almost the end as well, for his next adventure, Tarzan and the Mermaids, would be his final turn in the loincloth, so this instalment was notable for being the last to present the jungle family unit that had seen the series through so many entries. It had to be said it was showing signs of fatigue by this point, with Weissmuller not getting any younger and a certain sense of plot being recycled for want of anything better to do.

So once again the Apeman was up against another female antagonist, great white hunters were involved, as was one of those African Kingdoms which didn't include any actual black Africans amongst their number, though here there was a nod to the performers not being white in that they were given brown makeup to wear when they were white really underneath it. Nothing minstrel-like, thankfully, but still having you wish they could have employed more authentic-looking actors as they had back when the franchise started. This time the kingdom was in upheaval because Farrod's nephew is plotting against him and his benevolent ways.

As if that were not enough on Tarzan's plate, we had the hunters to contend with as well, led by Tanya (Patricia Morison, proud owner of the longest head of hair in Hollywood at the time), who wants to take back a whole bunch of beasts to be placed in an American zoo. It is possible to negotiate with her, but her right hand man is Paul Weir, played by perennial heavy Barton MacLane, so you can tell he's up to no good, and you'd be right because he apparently wishes to take back most of the animals on the continent. Quite where he was going to put all these legions of fauna is not explained, all we know is that Weir double crosses Tarzan when he starts poaching his furry friends on the Lord of the Jungle's side of the river.

In the meantime, the Tarzan family go synchronised swimming and Cheeta indulges in a spot of flight, not by flapping her arms but by using Boy's handmade glider, a very silly scene and indicative of the wavering tone of the piece when this comes straight after Boy and his attempts to get a flashlight from one of the hunters in exchange for a couple of lion cubs. It's no wonder he wasn't asked back if he thought that kind of behaviour was acceptable, but it does somewhat distract from the fact that Farrod is assassinated in a conspiracy and his son, on pursuit of the killers, winds up knocked out and believed dead to wander the rest of the movie in a daze, or you have to presume so because he disappears until Tarzan finds him as the finale arrives. That climax is actually quite cathartic as Mother Nature reasserts herself thanks to our hero belting out the yell (a different one from the MGM cry) to bring down the wrath of the jungle on the baddies. It's carnage, but they manage to end on a joke. Music by Paul Sawtell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Kurt Neumann  (1908 - 1958)

German director who came to Hollywood in the early-talkie era and soon established himself as a competent, economic film-maker. Moved from studio to studio directing in a variety of genres, but it was his love of sci-fi that led to his best films - The Fly, Kronos and Rocketship X-M.

 
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