TARZAN’S PERIL (1951)
Article 2943 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-29-2009
Posting Date: 9-4-2009
Directed by Byron Haskin
Featuring Lex Barker, Virginia Huston, George Macready
Tarzan must hunt down an escaped gun runner loose in Africa.
This was the first Tarzan movie to be shot in Africa (though only partially), and it shows; there is an air of authenticity to this one that is missing from most of the other Tarzan movies I’ve seen. This sense of authenticity adds a lot to the proceedings, as does a stronger-than-usual cast (George Macready is great as the villainous Radijeck) and occasional moments that are extremely good; in particular, I love the scene where Tarzan does not find the bodies of the commissioners, but is able to piece together what happened by observing the lions and hyenas in the area. Still, the story is very standard stuff, the moments when they switch from the African footage to the non-African footage are rather obvious, and some of the editing decisions are bad; really, couldn’t they have found a better moment in the movie to perform the gag where Cheeta eats the commissioner’s watch? It also features a moment where Tarzan battles a puppet snake so unconvincing I kept expecting Kukla and Fran to show up as well. The slight fantastic content that comes automatically with the Tarzan movies is augmented a little by the appearance of man-eating plants at one point. The movie was originally intended to be in color, but much of the footage was ruined on location, so it was converted to black and white.