This may only be the third movie in the series but already the elements are getting a tad predictable; the film will start out at a local trading place, white adventurers will decide to take a safari up the Mutia Escarpment, many of the local natives will die in the process, at least one of the white cast members will turn out to be evil or at least a huge dick, and Tarzan will save the day with an elephant stampede. In the case of Tarzan Escapes the plot hinges on the actions of Eric (William Henry) and Rita Parker (Benita Hume) who are cousins of Jane that have come to Africa because a mutual uncle has left Jane a sizable fortune, and they need her if they want to prevent all that money going to a museum for the study of entomology.
"The idea of losing our money that way really bugs me."These two idiots of course have no chance of finding Jane on their own so they hook up with local hunter Captain John Fry (John Buckler) who agrees to outfit a safari and take them up the escarpment. He tells our stalwart couple that he is doing this because he’s bored and needs, “A vacation with bit of adventure thrown in.” Fry’s actual motive is much more sinister as he hopes to capture the mysterious “white ape” believed to live up on the escarpment. Eric and Rita mention to him that this mythical beast is actually a white man and is living with their cousin Jane, but despite this bit of information he still brings along a cage to capture the supposed beast.
Note: I’d really like to know what kind of economic strife holds this part of Africa in such despair that white men have no problem finding native bearers for a safari into forbidden lands that so far almost no black man has ever returned from. There’s got to be better ways to commit suicide.
“Bomba, get your men ready for another fatal trip into the jungle.”We are treated to re-used footage from the previous two films showing the safari being attacked by the Gibonis tribe that consider the lands of the Mutia Escarpment to be sacred, eventually they reach the top of the escarpment, but not before the requisite death toll among the native bearers has been reached. The escarpment is too expansive to search so Fry comes up with the brilliant plan of capturing some local apes and placing them in cages in the hopes that this will draw Tarzan out. Fry tells the Parker’s this is just to get Tarzan’s attention but he has his comic relief sidekick prepare the special cage for the ape man.
Note: The comic relief in this film is in the form of Rawlins (Herbert Mundin) who had appeared in the previous two films as an apparent employee of Harry Holt and James Parker, but he never left the trading post.