The taboo island Aquitania, not far off Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) and
Jane's (Brenda Joyce) home, is ruled by the living God Baluh and his High
Priest Palanth (George Zucco). Of course, the living God is really a white
man, pearltrader Varga (Fernando Wagner), who just uses the Aquitanians -
who despite supposedly being Africans all have a Latino look to them - as
pearldivers, to always keep his warehouses in good stock. But Varga is not
only a God and pearltrader, he is also a man, and thus he has chosen
lovely Mara (Linda Christian) to become his wife ... and who would turn
down a God ?
Well, Mara would, because she is in love with Tiko (Gustavo Rojo), who
has fled the islaqnd many moons ago ... and at her wedding to God Baluh,
Mara does the same, successfully outdiving an army of trained pearldivers.
Eventually, Mara ends up on Tarzan and Jane's doorstep, who promise to
help her ... but soon enough, she is recaptured, and when trying to save
her, Jane and Tiko (who has somehow trailed Mara to Tarzan and Jane's
home) plus the local Commissioner (Edward Ashley) and the singing mailman
Benji (John Laurenz) are also captured by the Aquitanians. Only Tarzan can
evade them and somehow find his way into Varga's secret chambers ... and
since Varga is presently absent, Tarzan assumes the role of Aquitania's
living God, grants all his friends freedom and promises Tiko Mara's hand
in marriage ... and High Priest Palanth has to accept everything the
living God says, even though he knows it's not Vargas in the costume,
because otherwise the natives would uncover the charade.
It's wedding day for Tiko and Mara, which the natives seem to celebrate
with endless cliff jumping ... but then, Varga returns to Aquitania,
resumes his role as God Baluh and condemns all of Tarzan friends to death
... but somehow, Tarzan manages to make it to Baluh, tear off his mask and
expose him tot he natives ... and before long, Vargas falls off a
cliff and Tarzan's friends, Tiko and Mara's love and Aquitania as such all
are saved ...
Despite having been shot on location in Mexico and thus looking much
more authentic and exotic than the Hollywood-lensed jungle adventures of
the time, there are two words to sum up this film: High Camp. This
movie is miles away from the best Tarzan films (which for my
taste are still Tarzan the
Ape Man and Tarzan and
his Mate), it's even miles away from being a good film at all ...
yet it's utterly hilarious and enjoyable. Everything is just great - in
the weird sense of the word - about this film: the supporting cast made up
almost entirely of Latinos, the Latino sidekick Benji constantly singing bad songs, the
pyramid that poses as Baluh's temple that is obviously Mexican and not
African, massive cliff-jumping footage, George Zucco as a high priest, ...
Of course, if you take this film the least bit seriously, you will hate
it, but if you enjoy cheesy jungle adventure as much as I do, you just
might love it even if against better judgement.
By the way, the last Tarzan film starring Johnny
Weissmuller, and perhaps rightly so: by the time this was filmed he was 44
and looked too old, too well groomed (his hair looks like the work of an
expensive hairdresser) and too well-fed (despite still bing in good shape,
wearing only a loincloth Weissmuller looked a bit stuffy) for the role. He
went on to do Jungle
Jim next ...