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Tarzan's Hidden Jungle
Alternate Title: Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan's Hidden Jungle
Director: Harold Schuster (Dir)
Release Date:   16 Feb 1955
Production Date:   began mid-Aug 1954 at RKO-Pathé Studios
Duration (in mins):   72-73
Duration (in feet):   6,522
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Gordon Scott (Tarzan)  
    Vera Miles (Jill Hardy)  
    Peter Van Eyck (Dr. Celliers)  
    Jack Elam (Burger)  
    Charles Fredericks (DeGroot)  
    Richard Reeves (Reeves)  
    Zippy (Cheta)  
    Don Beddoe (Johnson)  
    Ike Jones (Malenki)  
    Jester Hairston (Witch doctor)  
    Madie Norman (Suma)  
    Rex Ingram (Makuma)  
    Lucky, a chimp (Lucky)  

Summary: In the African jungle, white hunters Reeves and DeGroot bemoan their meager haul of wild animals and resort to shooting a baby elephant. Before they can claim their prey, however, wild man Tarzan rescues it and concocts a medicinal salve for its wound. After Tarzan prevents Reeves and DeGroot's native porters from taking the elephant, DeGroot talks Reeves into crossing the river into "taboo" Sukululand, where an abundance of wild animals is rumored to exist but where whites are reviled. Reeves soon comes across a huge elephant herd, but moments after felling a bull, he is captured by Sukulu warriors. In the Sukulu village, Reeves is sentenced to die for killing a sacred animal and thrown into a lion-filled pit. Later, in another part of the jungle, DeGroot reports to his boss, Burger, who has been hired by another American, Johnson, to procure a large number of hides, tusks and animal fat. With only ten days in which to fulfill his contract, Burger decides to venture into Sukululand to search for Reeves and hunt game. While driving toward the river, Burger and DeGroot come across Tarzan with the baby elephant and try to claim the animal, but Tarzan once again protects it. After Tarzan reveals that he is taking the elephant to a nearby medical clinic, Burger and DeGroot decide to follow him and persuade the doctor, Celliers, who is the only white man the Sukulus trust, to lead him and DeGroot into Sukululand. At the United Nations-backed clinic, meanwhile, Tarzan delivers the elephant to Celliers and his nurse, Jill Hardy, both of whom are impressed by his jungle salve. Sure that the salve will help a dying patient of his, Celliers asks Tarzan to make some more, and Tarzan heads off to find the ingredients. As Celliers is about to leave for a meeting with the Sukulus' witch doctor, DeGroot and Burger drive up to the clinic. Posing as documentary filmmakers hired by the United Nations, the hunters persuade Jill to talk to Celliers about taking them into Sukululand. Celliers at first refuses, but changes his mind when Jill protests that the film will benefit the clinic. After Celliers, DeGroot and Burger depart, Malenki, one of the hunters' porters, shows up and tries to steal the elephant. Jill stops him and, at gunpoint, demands to know who shot the animal. Malenki reveals that DeGroot and Burger are hunters, and Jill realizes that Celliers is in grave danger. Ignoring the concerns of her helper, Makuma, Jill drives off to find the doctor. Tarzan then returns with the salve and, as soon as he learns about Jill from Makuma, dashes into the jungle after her. Up ahead in the brush, Jill's car engine dies, and she proceeds on foot, thrashing her way through the dense vegetation. After being menaced by a lion and a leopard, Jill falls into some quicksand, but is rescued by Tarzan. In the Sukulu village, meanwhile, Celliers introduces DeGroot and Burger to the chief, who greets them warily. While Celliers talks with the hostile witch doctor, Burger and DeGroot slip away and discover the elephant herd. Burger instructs DeGroot to remove their jeep's muffler in order to scare the animals and cause them to run to the river, where they will be herded across and shot. Just then Tarzan and Jill arrive in the village, and Jane informs Celliers about the hunters' duplicity. After Tarzan races off to stop Burger and DeGroot, the chief orders Jill and Celliers to be executed. In the brush, Tarzan uses his jungle yell to direct the stampeding elephants to turn around, and the hunters soon are trampled to death. Tarzan then rushes back to the village in time to jump in the lion pit with Jill and Celliers and "talk" the hungry animals into retreating. Once the chief learns that the elephants are safe, he forgives Jill and Celliers and thanks Tarzan. His work done, Tarzan hops on a vine and swings away. 

Production Company: Sol Lesser Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Harold Schuster (Dir)
  Harry Templeton (Asst dir)
Producer: Sol Lesser (Prod)
Writer: William Lively (Scr)
Photography: William Whitney (Photog)
Art Direction: William Flannery (Art dir)
Film Editor: Leon Barsha (Film ed)
Costumes: Henry West (Ward supv)
Music: Paul Sawtell (Mus)
Sound: James L. Speak (Sd)
Make Up: Jack Byron (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: Winfrid K. Thackrey (Set cont)
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: Tarzan

Source Text: Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Authors: Edgar Rice Burroughs

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Sol Lesser Productions, Inc. 4/2/1955 dd/mm/yyyy LP4861

PCA NO: 17261
Physical Properties: Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Adventure
Sub-Genre: Jungle
Subjects (Major): Africa
  Wild men
Subjects (Minor): Chimpanzees
  Death by animals
  Impersonation and imposture
  Motion picture cameramen
  United Nations

Note: The film's title card reads: "Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan's Hidden Jungle ." The film marked the motion picture debut of actor Gordon Scott (1927--2007), a former lifeguard and bodybuilder who went on to portray "Tarzan" in four more films, ending with Tarzan the Magnificent in 1960 (see below). In 1958, Scott also portrayed Tarzan in three episodes of a proposed television series that was distributed as a theatrical-length feature in Europe, but was only released on video in the U.S. under the title Tarzan and the Trappers . Tarzan's Hidden Jungle was also the first film in which Zippy the chimp portrayed "Cheta" (sometimes spelled "Cheetah") in the series. Zippy was a regular on the Howdy Doody television series. Although most of the Tarzan pictures featured the character "Jane," Tarzan's mate, she was not mentioned in Tarzan's Hidden Jungle .
       The film also marked the last Tarzan picture to be released by RKO, the company that had been distributing the series since 1943. M-G-M, the studio that began a rival series in 1932, released the next two Tarzan pictures, Tarzan and the Lost City and Tarzan's Fight for Life (see above entries). According to a DV news item and HR production charts, location shooting for Tarzan's Hidden Jungle took place at the World Animal Jungle Compound in Thousand Oaks, CA. For more information about the series, see the entries above for Tarzan, the Ape Man and Tarzan Triumphs and consult the Series Index. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   19 Feb 1955.   
Daily Variety   13 Aug 1954.   
Daily Variety   11 Feb 55   p. 3.
Film Daily   7 Mar 55   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Aug 54   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Aug 54   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Aug 54   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Feb 55   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 Feb 55   p. 337.
Variety   16 Feb 55   p. 16.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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