Tarzan's Desert Mystery

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Tarzan's Desert Mystery
Tarzan's Desert Mystery (movie poster).jpg
Directed by Wilhelm Thiele
Produced by Sol Lesser
Written by Carroll Young (story)
Edward T. Lowe Jr.
Based on Characters created
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring Johnny Weissmuller
Nancy Kelly
Music by Paul Sawtell
Cinematography Harry J. Wild
Russell Harlan
Edited by Ray H. Lockert
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • December 26, 1943 (1943-12-26)
Running time
70 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Tarzan's Desert Mystery is a 1943 film starring Johnny Weissmuller and Nancy Kelly, and directed by Wilhelm Thiele.


Like its immediate predecessor, Tarzan Triumphs, this movie makes reference to Tarzan's mate, Jane, played in earlier Weissmuller films by Maureen O'Sullivan, but it does not show her on screen. The explanation given is that she is in England helping the war effort. (When the character of Jane finally did return in the next Tarzan film, she was played by Brenda Joyce, not O'Sullivan.)

The film revolves around Tarzan's quest, at the urging of Jane, to find a rare African serum to help Allied troops. Tarzan's son, Boy, manages to tag along as the apeman journeys into the Sahara, and the two are soon joined by a rambunctious horse and a female American magician, played by Nancy Kelly.

The story is mostly a fantasy adventure — with "Arabian Nights"-style characters and sinister Nazi spies — but it also includes considerable comic relief and even science fiction elements. Critics complained that it was aimed more toward juvenile audiences than previous Tarzan films had been.


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