THE FEARLESS (director: Robert
F. Hill; screenwriters: Walter Anthony/Basil Dickey/George Plympton/based
on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs;
Brotherton/Harry Neumann; editor: Carl Himm;
Crabbe (Tarzan), Jaqueline Wells (Mary Brooks), E. Alyn
Warren (Dr. Brooks), Edward Woods (Bob Hall), Frank
Lackteen (Abdul), Matthew Betz (Nick Moran), Philo McCullough (Jeff Herbert),
Mischa Auer (Eltar,
High Priest of Zar); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating:
NR; producer: Sol Lesser; Principal; 1933)
"Independent producer Sol Lesser presents a much inferior Tarzan to rival MGM's Tarzan serials."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Independent producer Sol Lesser presents a much inferior Tarzan to rival MGM's Tarzan serials. Both attained rights from Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs. This film covers four parts of a 12-part serial, a serial that's now lost. Swimming champ Buster Crabbe replaces MGM's Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, but though impressive as to his physicality nevertheless he's still less appealing as an actor and had the decency to make this the first and last time he played Tarzan--for Buster the more appealing role of Flash Gordon was waiting for him in the near future. Director Robert F. Hill ("Wild Horse Canyon"/"East Side Kids"/"Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars") keeps things incoherent with his inability to tell the straight children's adventure story as is without users fillers or introducing overwrought subplots, having a plotline that's disjointed, and subjecting us to such trite dialogue and such a cornball romance for Tarzan.
English subjects Mary
Wells) and her
wannabe boyfriend Bob Hall (Edward Woods) are in Africa searching for Mary's lost
scientist father, Dr. Brooks (E. Alyn Warren). The old man is studying
African races and religions, and is being held
prisoner by the
followers of Zar, an idol worshiping people whose God
possesses five priceless emeralds embedded
in the idol's knuckles and who live in secret in a lost city of caves. The High Priest (Mischa
Auer) explains to
the scientist we don't want visitors and if we let you
go you will tell others. In their safari search for
the scientist, Mary and Bob are in the hands of
scoundrel guides looking to make a fast buck: the oily
English head guide Jeff Herbert (Philo McCullough) and his thuggish American
assistant Nick Moran (Matthew Betz).
Before captured by the Zar
cult, Tarzan is asked by Dr. Brooks to find his
daughter and bring her to his hut. The dutiful Apeman
meets Mary in the jungle and the two are attracted to
each other. When Jeff sees Tarzan, his eyes light up
as he possesses a letter from the solicitor to the executor of
the late Lord Greyfriar's estate, and notes there's an
offer of £10,000 for proof that Tarzan, Lord
Greyfriar's son and heir, is dead. Jeff now plans on
killing Tarzan, marrying the pretty Mary and stealing
the emeralds of Zar. A good thing Tarzan is around to
straighten everybody out, including rescuing the
scientist from the Zar group.
The pic was slightly
entertaining, but only in the most primitive way.
Since it only covers the first four parts of the
serial, the ending that has Tarzan and Mary getting
cozy as she teaches him English, just serves as a
tease ending to lure the viewer into seeing the eight
other chapters in the serial.
REVIEWED ON 4/4/2012 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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