CineSavant Column

Saturday April 21, 2018


A very interesting link reached me through Joe Dante, about one of the oldest Hollywood missing-film mysteries on the books — the legendary Giant Vampire Attack scene that was cut out of the 1936 Tarzan Escapes, almost at the last minute. Bill and Sue-On Hillman’s Edgar Rice Burroughs-zine has an excellently researched article with new information that makes it seem possible that the missing scene might someday be located in a foreign archive or film exchange. As this third MGM feature is the first Tarzan to be considered a ‘kid’s picture,’ the scary scene was cut after preview audiences thought it unsuitable for children.

BUT — the scene was reinstated for a 1954 release, before disappearing once again. The author of the full article saw the reissue as a kid, and his description makes it sound as extreme as the fantastic horrors in Tarzan and His Mate. Trailers from Hell’s Charlie Largent did a newspaper research snoop followup on the article’s claim, and did indeed come across the ad for the Dec. 22, 1954 double bill that Bill Hillman saw (above)!

Charlie noted that filming the flying bat creatures on wires, that swoop down and carry off helpless victims, likely gave MGM needed engineering experience for when it came time to film the flying monkeys of The Wizard of Oz, three or four years later.

Gary Teetzel has also been scouring old industry newspapers, this time for information about the 1932 horror classic Island of Lost Souls. He found a score of interesting blurbs about possible casting, and the talent search for a ‘Panther Girl’ for the movie. This first clipping has an odd list of stars attached to the project, though obviously not permanently: Nancy Carroll, Fay Wray, Irving Pichel, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Noah Beery. If you know the picture it’s not difficult to guess what the actors’ roles would be:

This second clipping is a good reminder why studios didn’t make more shocking, transgressive horror pictures. You can’t buy a review this negative, as they used to say. I think this particular blurb ends up being funny, due to its final two words:

And it’s another DVD Classics Corner On the Air show, this time about the new Kino 3-D release: Dick Dinman & Bob Furmanek Survive the Horror of the 3-D The Maze. I made sure I got the basic tech facts right in my CineSavant review last week, but Dinman’s interview with Bob Furmanek goes into more detail about “the challenges inherent in restoring not only 3D picture but 3 Channel Stereo Sound to this much requested creep-fest.” The disc arrives next Tuesday.

I always keep forgetting to say it, but Dick Dinman’s half-hour shows always cover more topics as well. A set of links to other DVD CCOA shows is at this address.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson