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Tarzan's Fight For Life (1958)



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"He's taken deadly poison!" / "Why that stuff will kill him!"

Shot before, released after Tarzan and the Trappers, this was the last release by Tarzan producer Sol Lesser. His last few, this one included, were artistic and commercial failures, so Lesser made the difficult decision to sell the franchise to Sy Weintraub and Harvey Hayutin, who were fortunately willing and able to tweak the formula and revitalize the series with Tarzan's Greatest Adventure.

Tarzan's Fight For Life is the epitome of everything that was wrong with the series at this point. The same ridiculous plot lines, the same illiterate Tarzan, the same cliches and cliffhangers and uninspired dialogue abound. This time out, an English doctor of medicine and the witch doctor of a native tribe are at odds. The plot has some sporadically engaging elements to it, but the film as a whole falls flat. The reasonably original portions are overshadowed by the parts we've seen before and before, and Tarzan's broken English was well beyond annoying at this point. (Fortunately, the first thing Weintraub and Hayutin did when they bought the franchise was educate Tarzan.)

For Tarzan's Fight For Life, Tarzan gets Jane back, played by Eve Brent, as well as a Boy-like character named Tartu, played by Rickie Sorensen. The same two were also used in Tarzan and the Trappers. Alas, they are painfully generic and used only as plot devices.

Tarzan's Fight For Life was almost literal. In one scene, Gordon Scott wrestles an eighteen and a half foot python. It nearly strangled him and required six men to pull it off.

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