AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Tarzan Triumphs
Alternate Title: Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan Triumphs
Director: William Thiele (Dir)
Release Date:   19 Feb 1943
Production Date:   mid-Aug--mid-Sep 1942
Duration (in mins):   76-77
Duration (in feet):   6,857
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Cast:   Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan)  
    Johnny Sheffield (Boy)  
    Frances Gifford (Zandra)  
    Stanley Ridges (Col. Von Reichart)  
    Sig Ruman (Sergeant)  
    Philip Van Zandt (Bausch)  
    Rex Williams (Lt. Schmidt)  
    Pedro de Cordoba (Patriarch)  
    Stanley Brown (Archmet)  
    Cheetah, the chimp (Cheetah)  

Summary: Zandra, the daughter of the ruler of the lost city of Pallandria, is saved by Tarzan,the Ape Man, when she becomes trapped on a rock shelf while trying to rescue Tarzan's son Boy. Later, in their tree house, Boy reads Tarzan a letter from Jane, who is in London visiting her sick mother, describing the Nazi peril. Soon after, the peril encroaches upon the jungle when Nazi planes fly overhead in search of oil and tin to fuel the war effort. While parachuting into the jungle, one of the soldiers, Lt. Schmidt, is injured and radios a German pilot for help. Dropping down to a lower altitude to search for the injured soldier, the pilot is blinded by a flock of frightened birds and crashes his plane. Witnessing the crash, Tarzan saves Schmidt from the jaws of a hungry crocodile and takes the unconscious soldier to his tree house. Upon regaining consciousness, Schmidt pretends to be British. Meanwhile, in Pallandria, the Germans, led by Colonel Von Reichart, are na├»vely welcomed by Zandra and her father and brother Archmet. The next day, the Germans seize control of the city and enslave the natives to gather raw materials for the war. When the colonel makes sexual advances to Zandra, Archmet comes to her aid and is killed by the Nazis. Schmidt, meanwhile, has reassembled his radio and is calling Berlin for reinforcements when Cheetah, Tarzan's chimp, steals a coil from the radio and interrupts the broadcast. Soon after, Tarzan hears gunfire in the jungle and finds Zandra being pursued by the Nazis. Tarzan sweeps down from a tree and carries her to safety, and when the Nazis try to ford a river to follow them, all but the sergeant are eaten by carnivorous fish. Later, when Cheetah steals Schmidt's radio coil again, he shoots at her and chases her into the jungle. Coming to her rescue, Cheetah's elephant friend pushes the German over a cliff. As the sergeant returns to Pallandria with news that Tarzan is in possession of the radio, Zandra tries to convince the Ape Man that the Nazis are his enemies. In response, Tarzan claims to be an isolationist and refuses to join the fight. When Zandra insists on returning to her village, Tarzan follows her into the jungle, and in his absence, the Nazis raid the tree house and seize the radio. As the Nazis begin to torture Boy, demanding that he tell them the location of the coil, Tarzan swings from a tree to his rescue and is shot down by a Nazi bullet. After the Nazis leave with Boy as their prisoner, Cheetah takes Zandra to the injured Tarzan, and she nurses him back to health. When Tarzan learns that the Germans have kidnapped Boy, he declares war and hurries to Pallandria. There, he is captured by the Nazis and sentenced to die before a firing squad the following morning. Von Reichart also sentences Zandra to death after she rejects his sexual advances. When the people of Pallandria rally to Zandra's defense, Von Reichart orders that ten percent of the population join Tarzan in front of the firing squad. Cheetah, meanwhile, slips into the city, reattaches the coil to the radio and frees Tarzan. After killing the sergeant with a throw of his knife, Tarzan dismantles the German machine gun on the city's tower and then frees the imprisoned people of Pallandria. Armed with German rifles, the people overthrow their oppressors, sending the colonel scurrying into the jungle with the radio. Tarzan follows, and after the colonel frantically calls Berlin, the Ape Man lures him into a trap with a hungry lion. Cheetah then takes control of the microphone, and when Berlin headquarters answers the call, they mistake the chattering chimp for Hitler. 

Production Company: Principal Artists Productions  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: William Thiele (Dir)
  Clem Beauchamp (Asst dir)
Producer: Sol Lesser (Prod)
Writer: Roy Chanslor (Scr)
  Carroll Young (Scr)
  Carroll Young (Story)
Photography: Harry Wild (Photog)
Art Direction: Hans Peters (Art dir)
  Harry Horner (Prod des)
Film Editor: Hal Kern (Ed supv)
Costumes: Elmer Ellsworth (Ward)
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
  Paul Sawtell (Mus)
Sound: John C. Grubb (Sd tech)
Country: United States
Series: Tarzan

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

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Principal Artists Productions 12/1/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP11970

PCA NO: 8892
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Adventure
  Adventure
Sub-Genre: World War II
  Jungle
 
Subjects (Major): Africa
  Isolationism
  Jungles
  Nazis
  Wild men
 
Subjects (Minor): Airplane accidents
  Brothers and sisters
  Chimpanzees
  Crocodiles
  Death by animals
  Elephants
  Fathers and sons
  Lechery
  Lions
  Radios
  Rescues
  Torture

Note: The opening credits read "Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan Triumphs ." Although a HR production chart adds Martin Kosleck to the cast, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A news item in HR adds that the jungle village was shot on location at Sherwood Forest, California. This was the first of twelve Tarzan films that Sol Lesser produced for RKO after M-G-M terminated the series. According to a HR news item, Maureen O'Sullivan, who starred as "Jane" in the M-G-M series, was initially slated to reprise that role in this film until she became pregnant and was forced to withdraw from the project. Ann Corio was to replace her as the female lead, according to a pre-production news item in HR , but the role finally went to Frances Gifford, who had starred in Republic's 1941 "Jungle Girl" serial. Brenda Joyce took over the role of "Jane" in the 1945 film Tarzan and the Amazons (see above). Johnny Weissmuller also starred as "Tarzan" and Johnny Sheffield appeared as "Boy" in the M-G-M series. Weissmuller continued to play "Tarzan" until 1949, when he was replaced by Lex Barker. Sheffield appeared as "Boy" until the 1948 film Tarzan and the Mermaids (see above). The last film in the Lesser-RKO "Tarzan" series was the 1955 film Tarzan's Hidden Jungle . For additional information on other Tarzan pictures, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Tarzan, the Ape Man in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   20 Jan 43   p. 3.
Film Daily   20 Jan 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Mar 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Jul 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Aug 42   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Aug 42   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Sep 42   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Jan 43   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   23 Jan 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   31 Oct 42   p. 983.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   23 Jan 43   p. 1125.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   20 Feb 43   p. 1174.
New York Times   6 Sep 1942.   
New York Times   5 Feb 43   p. 16.
Variety   20 Jan 43   p. 9.

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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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