TARZAN AND THE GREEN GODDESS (1938)
(Feature Version of Serial)
Article #1618 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-19-2005
Posting Date: 1-16-2006
Directed by Edward A. Kull and Wilbur McGaugh
Featuring Bruce Bennett, Ula Holt, Frank Baker
Tarzan tries to recover a stolen idol which contains the formula for a super-explosive.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the serial from which this feature was culled, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF TARZAN, but I do remember that the first episode was far and away the best part. I was hoping going into this one that it would get most of its footage from that part of the serial, but no such luck; this mostly comes from the later episodes, in which Tarzan pursues Raglan, who has absconded with the idol. I still think Bruce Bennett (here billed as Herman Brix) makes a decent Tarzan even if his version of the Tarzan yell sounds like a cross between a coyote and Minnie Pearl. Still, the thing that most stood out for me watching this condensation was that as far as arch-villains went, Raglan (played by Ashton Dearholt billed as Don Castello) was one of the most put-upon and pathetic. He spends most of the movie toting the heavy idol around on his back (a proper arch-villain would have an assistant for that), and his opening scene has him telling how terrified he was at being stalked by Tarzan; he’s the arch-villain as harried and hapless victim. I also wonder about any feature version of a serial that omits the spectacular initial theft of the idol, but sees fit to include the scene with the comic-relief character chasing the monkey that stole his yo-yo.