Tarzan Triumphs is a 1943 adventure film in which Tarzan fights the Nazis. Johnny Weissmuller had portrayed the Edgar Rice Burroughs character in six films with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but this was his first with the producer Sol Lesser at RKO Pictures. Lesser had previously produced Tarzan the Fearless and Tarzan's Revenge. Weissmuller was reunited with two of his three co-stars from several of the earlier films, Johnny Sheffield and Cheeta, but Maureen O'Sullivan was unable to reprise her role as Jane because the franchise switched from MGM to RKO, and O'Sullivan was an MGM contract player. Instead, Frances Gifford played the princess of the lost city of Palandrya, which is conquered by Germans.
|Directed by||Wilhelm Thiele|
|Produced by||Sol Lesser (exec. producer)|
Wilhelm Thiele (uncredited assoc. producer)
|Written by||Carroll Young (story and screenplay)|
Roy Chanslor (screenplay)
|Based on||Characters created|
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
|Music by||Paul Sawtell|
|Cinematography||Harry J. Wild|
|Edited by||Harry Horner|
|Distributed by||RKO Pictures|
|Box office||$1.5 million (US rentals)|
Tarzan and Boy are living on the Great Escarpment, though Jane has returned to England to tend to her sick mother. A small force of German paratroopers lands and takes over the lost city of "Palandrya" as an advance base for the conquest of Sub Saharan Africa. Tarzan continually ignores the requests for help from the helpless and enslaved Palandrians, saying, "Jungle people fight to live, civilized people live to fight."
Only when Boy is kidnapped by the Germans does Tarzan shout, "Now Tarzan make war!" Tarzan infiltrates the lost city, destroying a machine gun and defeating the German invaders with his knife and an elephant blitzkrieg. The film's final scene has Cheeta speaking into the defeated Germans' short wave radio to call Berlin; the Germans mistake Cheeta for Adolf Hitler.
- Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan
- Johnny Sheffield as Boy
- Frances Gifford as Zandra
- Stanley Ridges as Colonel Von Reichart
- Sig Ruman as Sergeant
- Philip Van Zandt as Captain Bausch
- Rex Williams as Lieutenant Reinhardt Schmidt
- Pedro de Cordoba as Oman, the Patriarch
- Sven Hugo Borg as Heinz
- Stanley Brown as Achmet
The U.S. State Department informed Sol Lesser that a Tarzan film would be an ideal way to spread the message of democracy's battle against Fascism to the American public. Lesser's first RKO Tarzan film had made the Ape Man a symbol of American isolationism. The film was the highest grossing of Lesser's Tarzan films.
Unlike in previous Tarzan films, the natives are played by whites in South Sea Island costume rather than the black Africans of the MGM films. This use of non-blacks as natives continued for several other Tarzan films in the 1940s.
- "Top Grossers of the Season", Variety, 5 January 1944 p 54
- "Notes for Tarzan Triumphs (1943)". Allmovie. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
- p. 140 Etter, Jonathan and Grauman, Walter E. Quinn Martin, Producer 2003 McFarland
- Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016
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