EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|TARZAN'S SECRET TREASURE (director: Richard Thorpe; screenwriters: from the characters by Edgar Rice Burroughs/ Miles Connolly/Paul Gangelin; cinematographer: Clyde D. Vinna; editor: Gene Ruggiero; music: David Snell; cast: Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan), Maureen O'Sullivan (Jane Parker), John Sheffield (Boy), Reginald Owen (Professor Elliott), Barry Fitzgerald (O'Doul), Tom Conway (Medford), Philip Dorn (Vandermeer), Cordell Hickman (Tumbo); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: B.P. Fineman; MGM; 1941)|
|"Competently made but predictable."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
the fifth film in MGM's Tarzan
series starring Johnny Weissmuller. It's solidly directed by Richard
("Malaya"/"Ivanhoe"/"Vengeance Valley"), who keeps it competently made but
predictable. It's well written as pulp by Miles
Connolly and Paul Gangelin. It was
released in 1941, just a few
weeks after Pearl
Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) and Jane
(Maureen O'Sullivan) and their adopted son Boy live a simple life in
the middle of the jungle. While the carefree Boy swims in the lake near
their escarpment home,
he finds on the lakebed several gold nuggets. Jane tells the lad that
in civilization gold is valuable because it buys things. The kid wants
to use the gold to buy an airplane and plans to go to civilization to
make this trade.
Boy sneaks out of the family tree house at
night and leaves a note
that reads, "Gone to see civilzashun - back tomorrow." Crossing the
river, Boy saves a native boy
named Tumbo (Cordell Hickman) from a charging
rhino and the two bond as friends.
there's a plague that takes many lives, including Tumbo's
mother. This leaves Tumbo as
an orphan, who is told by Boy he always has a place with Tarzan. The
superstitious witch doctor blames Boy for the plague and attempts to
burn him at the stake as a sacrifice to the gods. But Boy is
rescued by a scientific expedition, riding in a truck through the
with guns. When Tarzan arrives, the expedition
head scientist, Professor
Elliott (Reginald Owen),
says they are here to find
the lost Van-usi tribe and
introduces the rest of his team: the friendly Irish photographer
Dennis O'Doul (Barry Fitzgerald), associate professor Medford (Tom
Conway), and their guide, Vandermeer (Philip Dorn). When Boy tells
Medford and Vandermeer about
the gold in the lake and in the mountains where he lives, the two vile
men conspire to get that gold even if it means doing criminal deeds
such as letting their scientist head die of the plague without helping
him, attempting to murder Tarzan and kidnapping Jane and Boy. It's up
to Tarzan to handle these troublesome greedy sleazes, as he uses his
jungle smarts to see to it that these baddies can't escape from the
jungle with the gold.
The family pet chimp, Cheetah, is around
for comic relief (even gets drunk); but he has competition in this pic
from the stereotyped Irishman character played broadly for comedy by Fitzgerald, who also gets drunk.
The popular series was given first-class
treatment by MGM, releasing a new film every two or three years. But
both O'Sullivan and MGM were
growing tired of this series, and in 1942 RKO took over and replaced
the unhappy O'Sullivan with
another actress while retaining Weissmuller.
REVIEWED ON 6/23/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ