Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941)

Article #1420 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-2-2005
Posting Date: 7-2-2005
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Featuring Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield

When Boy decides to leave home to visit civilization, he encounters scientific explorers who take more than a passing interest in a gold nugget that he is carrying.

At the time of this writing, this movie has the exact same IMDB rating as TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD WOMAN; nonetheless, I have a clear preference between the two, and it’s for this one. Though Brenda Joyce was cute, I just don’t think she had the same chemistry with Johnny Weissmuller as Maureen O’Sullivan had, but their scenes together here are pretty good. Cheetah is on hand in both movies, but here they don’t make the mistake of over-relying on his presence for cute antics. Which is not to say that there aren’t a few, but the ones that exist are more creative, and Cheetah is given a little competition in the scene-stealing department by not only the baby elephant, but by Barry Fitzgerald as well. The story is also somewhat less silly here, but unfortunately it’s also a little too familiar; I think several movies in the Tarzan series have the same basic plot as this one, and the sense of over-familiarity was very noticeable. Still, the final scenes are quite spectacular, and there’s something really likable about this entry in the series. And I don’t know what it was about this movie that made me appreciate him, but I decided that I really like Johnny Sheffield as Boy, despite the fact that his addition to the series was one of the factors in its domesticisation. The fact of the matter is that Sheffield was an excellent actor who worked well with Weissmuller as well. The fantastic elements are minimal as usual for the Tarzan movies, consisting of little more than the slight air of fantasy that hangs over all of them.

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