The film begins with two white dudes witnessing the coronation of Melmendi (Dorothy Dandridge), the queen of the Ashuba tribe. One of the gentlemen is Commissioner Peters (Alan Napier) who is retiring from his position and is giving his replacement, Connors (Edward Ashley), the nickel tour. The celebrations are interrupted by party crashers in the form of the neighbouring Yorango tribe lead by the brutal King Bulam (Frederick O'Neal). Bulam has been hankering to marry the beautiful Melmendi for some time now but she’d rather marry a snake than this creep.
Take one look at this guy and who could blame her?
“I say, it’s best to keep dangerous toys away from them.”
“Later we’ll be selling drugs to orphans.”
“No Tarzan, you can play with Cheeta and Tantor after you repaint the bedroom.”
A rubber snake that threatens Cheeta.
And a goofy as hell fight with a man-eating plant.
The one thing that makes director Bryan Haskin’s Tarzan film stand-out from its brethren is the amount of time it spends with the villains and not with Tarzan. The Ape Man really doesn’t do much of anything until the third act, as the first two thirds of the film focuses on Radijack, his henchman, and their dealings with Bulam. Lucky for us that actor George Macready is up to the task with his villainous portrayal of Radijack, as it’s great fun to watch him sneer and scheme against even his supposed allies. On the downside is the aforementioned horrible version of Jane and also some overly long comedy bits with Cheeta that stop the film cold.
"If you see a chimp, please kill it."
Note: This is the first Tarzan film by producer Sol Lesser that has elements actually filmed in Africa,
but though some stuff was filmed in Kenya the bulk of the movie is still clearly shot on grounds back in the United States.