Aviatrix Gloria James (Evelyn Ankers) has crashed her plane in the
African jungle 20 years ago and was presumed dead. However, actually she
found her way to the Blue Valley, where the (exclusively white) natives
have found the fountain of youth, and while they fiercely guard
their secret from outsiders, they welcome Gloria into their midst.
Now: Back in England, Gloria's lover from way back Douglas Jessup (Alan
Napier) is accused of murder and only Gloria could clear him - so Tarzan
(Lex Barker), the only outsider allowed in the Blue Valley, fetches
Gloria, who still looks as young as 20 years ago, and sends her to England
to relieve Douglas of his charges.
Later, Gloria, now looking 20 years older (or rather more her age), and
Douglas, whom she has since married, return to Africa and ask Tarzan to
take them back to the Blue Valley - but he bluntly refuses, not wanting to
give away the secret of the valley. However, his wife Jane (Brenda Joyce)
thinks she knows the jungle well enough to guide Gloria and Jessup to the
valley on her own - and she fails to see through the deception of their
companions Trask (Albert Dekker) and Dodd (Charles Drake), who want to
uncover the secret of the fountain of youth for their own personal gain
(and are of course ruthless as can be).
Janes little expedition soon runs into trouble though, and ultimately
Tarzan has to save her and company, and soon enough he softens up and
takes Gloria and Jessup to the Blue Valley - leaving the others behind
with Jane, who soon try to force her to take them to Blue Valley as well
Meanwhile, opposition has formed in Blue Valley, and they want to close
the valley to outsiders entirely, which also means Tarzan has to die. He
can however overcome opposition and convince the High One (David
Bond) to accept both Gloria and Jessup, and even hand him a phial of the
fountain's water for his (and Jane's) personal use.
Leaving the Valley, Tarzan runs into Jane and company and soon he gets
caught up in a three-way fight between him, the valley's guards and Trask
and Dodd, which is ultimately decided when a landslide takes care of the
baddies and seals of the valley for good.
And Tarzan's phiol ?
His pet monkey Cheetah drinks up the water and turns into a baby chimp
Elmo Lincoln, the first ever film-Tarzan, has a small role in this one
as a fisherman who has two comic bouts with Tarzan as played by Lex
The first Tarzan movie starring Lex Barker picks up
pretty much where the Johnny
Weissmuller Tarzans left off, delivering a silly and clichéd
little jungle adventure on a budget - which means not particularly
convincing jungle sets, a relative lack of jungle animals (safe from
Cheetah), an African jungle full of white natives, and an overemphasis on
Cheetah's comic encounters with whatever there is to encounter. Actually a
rather tired and unimpressive take on the old jungle-adventure routine.
As for Lex Barker as Tarzan: he is no match for
Weissmuller in his early films but actually an improvement over the older,
chubbier Weissmuller, even if his hairdo looks way too little like that of
a jungleman and way too much like the work of an expensive Hollywood
hairdresser, and the slippers he wears throughout the film are simply
pathetic (they were done away with in later films though).