Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tarzan's recycled TV adventures
marred by lazy editng

Tarzan and the Trappers (1958)
Starring: Gordon Scott, Rickie Sorenson, Lesley Bradley, Maurice Marsac, Sol Gorse, William Keene and Eve Brent
Directors: Charles F. Haas and Sandy Howard
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Tarzan (Scott) stops a brutal trapper (Bradley) who has been raiding his jungle, and later finds himself the subject of a hunt staged by the trapper's vengeful brother (Gorse).

"Tarzan and Trappers" consists of two (or perhaps even parts of three) episodes of an unsold TV series, which explains not only a bizarre grouping of story threads--the first half of the movie sees Tarzan fighting one group of villains while the second half of the movie introduces a whole new set of bad guys who come in as result of his actions on the first half--but also a weird sense of chronology where on one hand it's seems clear that the main events of the movie are separated by days or weeks (and that the second half even takes place over at least two days), yet the film's denouement implies that the trappers Tarzan fought in the first half of the film were captured and convicted in the morning, the revenge plot is hatched and executed in the afternoon, and Tarzan is home for the special dinner promised to him by Jane at the film's beginning.

This chronological confusion comes about due to the slipshod way the episodes were edited together. The denouement from the first episode (the first half of the movie) was moved to the very end--the first part of the movie COULD have been a very busy, very long day--even though it really doesn't connect at all with the events of the second film. The package would have been far better served if they producers had excised all references to the dinner Jane was making, or if they had left the two episodes intact, with the first denouement where it belonged.

As far as the acting goes, everyone does a decent job in this film. Gordon Scott makes a fine Johnny Weismuller copy, although while Eva Brent certainly is pretty in her small role as Jane, she doesn't have Maureen O'Sullivan's screen presence.

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