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Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948)

Approved | | Action, Adventure | 15 May 1948 (USA)
To escape from an arranged marriage to Aquatania's pagan god, a desperate maiden ends up in Tarzan's fishing net. But soon, he, too, finds himself before a well-planned conspiracy. Can Tarzan save the mermaid from the barbaric idol's will?

Director:

Robert Florey

Writers:

Carroll Young (original story), Carroll Young (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Johnny Weissmuller ... Tarzan
Brenda Joyce ... Jane
George Zucco ... Palanth - The High Priest
Andrea Palma ... Luana - Mara's Mother
Fernando Wagner Fernando Wagner ... Varga - Pearl Trader
Edward Ashley ... Commissioner
John Laurenz ... Benji
Gustavo Rojo ... Tiko - Mara's Fiancé
Matthew Boulton ... British Inspector-General
Linda Christian ... Mara
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Storyline

Boy is away at school in England. The high priest is trying to force a young girl to marry an evil pearl trader posing as the god Balu. She escapes, is recaptured and is finally rescued by Tarzan and Jane who reunite her with her chosen fiance. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BARBARIC RITUALS!... SAVAGE THRILLS!... PAGAN SPLENDORS! (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and the Mermaids See more »

Filming Locations:

Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sol Lesser Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The same year this film was released, Johnny Weissmuller made his initial appearance as his other best-known character, Jungle Jim. Although he is now remembered more for portraying Tarzan, Weissmuller starred as Edgar Rice Burroughs' Ape Man in just 11 films, but played Jungle Jim in 13 feature films and a 1950s TV series. See more »

Goofs

When Mara (Linda Christian) is seen diving in the river, her costume changes from grey when she is on land to white when she is seen underwater. When she climbs out of the water, her costume is grey again. See more »

Quotes

Benji: Tarzan go fishing, catch mermaid, eh!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Skeppsholmen: Episode #2.5 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

My Guitar
(uncredited)
Written by Farlan Myers and Ben Brady
Played on guitar and Sung by John Laurenz
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Weissmuller's Swansong as Tarzan Cheesy, But...
22 October 2003 | by cariartSee all my reviews

Johnny Weissmuller's final film as 'King of the Jungle', after 16 years in the role, TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS, is bound to disappoint all but the most ardent of his fans. At 44, the ex-Olympian, one of Hollywood's most active 'party animals', was long past the slim athleticism of his youth, and looked tired (although he was in marginally better condition than in his previous entry, TARZAN AND THE HUNTRESS).

Not only had Weissmuller gotten too old for his role; Johnny Sheffield, the quintessential 'Boy', had grown to manhood (he was a strapping 17-year old), so he was written out of the script, under the pretext of being 'away at school'. Brenda Joyce, at 35, was appearing in her fourth of five films as 'Jane' (she would provide the transition when Lex Barker became the new Tarzan, in 1949's TARZAN'S MAGIC FOUNTAIN) and was still as wholesomely sexy as ever.

Produced by Sol Lesser, at RKO, on a minuscule budget, the cast and crew took advantage of cheaper labor by filming in Mexico. While the location gave a decidedly Hispanic air to what was supposedly darkest Africa, veteran director Robert Florey utilized the country extensively, incorporating cliff diving and an Aztec temple into the story.

When a young island girl (Tyrone Power's future bride, Linda Christian) is rescued in a jungle river by Tarzan, he learns that a local high priest (George Zucco, one of filmdom's most enduring villains) had virtually enslaved the local population, threatening retribution from a living 'God' if they don't do his bidding. The girl had been chosen to become the 'God's' bride, so she fled. Faster than you can say 'Is this a dumb plot or WHAT?', the girl is kidnapped by the priest's henchmen and returned to the island, and Tarzan, followed by Jane, colorful Spanish character 'Benjy' (charmingly played by John Laurenz, who sings several tunes), and a government commissioner are off to take on the Deity and his priest (poor Cheeta is left behind). After a series of discoveries (the 'God' is simply a con man in an Aztec mask, working with the priest in milking the island's rich pearl beds), a bit of brawling action, and comic relief and songs by Benjy, everything reaches the expected happy conclusion.

Remarkably, TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS features a musical score by the brilliant film composer, Dimitri Tiomkin, and is far better than what you'd expect from this 'B' movie!

While the film would provide a less-than-auspicious end to Weissmuller's time in Tarzan's loincloth (he would immediately go on to play Jungle Jim, a more eloquent variation of the Ape Man, in khakis), the talent involved lifted the overall product at least a little above the total mess it could have been.

Tarzan was about to get a make over, and become much sexier...


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