Silver Screen Icons: Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan - Vol. 1 [DVD]

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Tarzan Finds a Son!
Tarzan Finds a Son was to have been Maureen O'Sullivan's final Tarzan film, with Jane getting killed in the final reel. But Edgar Rice Burroughs refused to allow MGM to kill his character, so MGM had to increase her salary a substantial amount to do a few more Tarzan adventures. Tarzan Finds a Son was also the first MGM Tarzan film in three years and it introduced a new character --Boy (Johnny Sheffield). Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) finds Boy as an infant in a plane-wreck deep in the heart of the African jungle. He takes the baby to his jungle home where he and Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) raise him as their own son for five years. When Boy's relatives find out that he is alive, they are less than happy, since he stands to receive a large inheritance. An evil African tribe then captures Tarzan and Jane and it is left to Boy to try to rescue them. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Tarzan Escapes
Produced under the working title The Capture of Tarzan, Tarzan Escapes was completely refilmed before release, eviscerating several blood-curdling sequences involving killer pygmies, torture murders and vampire bats. Wearing considerably more clothing than in 1934's Tarzan and His Mate, Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) and Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) have taken up residence in their gadget-laden treehouse, replete with animal-powered elevator. Two of Jane's British relatives (Benita Hume and Willam Henry) come calling, together with an underhanded hunter (Hugh Buckler) who plans to kidnap Tarzan and put him on display in London. The Lord of the Jungle is briefly subdued, but escapes just in time to rescue Jane and her family from hostile natives, who practice the jolly ritual of spread-eagling their victims between two bent trees, then splitting the unfortunates in two (a harrowing but tastefully filmed sequence, later excerpted in 1941's Tarzan's Secret Treasure). Other than this grisly finale, Tarzan Escapes was strictly family fare. The familial aspects of the film extended into the film's credits; among the screenwriters were John Farrow, husband of leading lady Maureen O'Sullivan, and Cyril Hume, brother of supporting actress Benita Hume. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Tarzan and His Mate
Most Tarzan enthusiasts consider 1934's Tarzan and His Mate to be the best of the Johnny Weissmuller-Maureen O'Sullivan Tarzan efforts. Certainly it is the sexiest, with Weissmuller and especially O'Sullivan wearing next to nothing for most of the film's running time. Picking up where 1932's Tarzan the Ape Man left off, the film's plot is set in motion by avaricious ivory hunter Paul Cavanaugh, who arrives in the African jungle in search of the fabled Elephant's Graveyard. Accompanying Cavanaugh is Neil Hamilton the former fiance of Jane Porter (Maureen O'Sullivan), who for the past two years has been living with jungle lord Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) without benefit of clergy (this is strictly a pre-code effort, as evidenced by Jane's bikini-like attire and the now-famous skinny-dipping sequence). Jane briefly entertains notions of returning to civilization, but opts for her blissful outdoor existence with Tarzan. The plot rears its ugly head again when Cavanaugh shoots Tarzan and leaves him for dead, the better to seek out the precious ivory unimpeded. Rescued by his simian friends, Tarzan races towards the elephant's burial site, where Cavanaugh and Hamilton have been eaten by lions and Jane is next on the menu. A convenient elephant stampede--heralded by that classic Tarzan ahh-ee-yahhhh-ee-yahhhh--saves Jane from the lion's fangs in the nick of time. Tarzan and His Mate was the last of MGM's "Tarzan" series to be targeted for a strictly adult audience: the remaining MGM Tarzans, made under stricter censorship guidelines, were geared for the whole family. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Tarzan, the Ape Man
Tarzan, The Ape Man was not only MGM's inaugural "Tarzan" film, but also the first to star former Olympic swimming champ Johnny Weissmuller as The Lord of the Jungle (strange but true: one of the pre-Weissmuller "Tarzan" candidates was Clark Gable!) Utilizing scads of stock footage from MGM's Trader Horn (1931), the film begins with great white hunter James Parker (C. Aubrey Smith) trekking through darkest Africa in search of the legendary Elephant Graveyard. Accompanying Parker is his daughter Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) and her erstwhile beau Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton). The expedition is habitually sabotaged by the ecology-conscious Tarzan, a white man who'd been lost in the jungle years earlier and raised by Apes. Tarzan kidnaps Jane and spirits her away to the treetops, where she gradually overcomes her fear of the Loinclothed One and teaches him to speak English ("Tarzan...Jane", not "Me Tarzan...You Jane" as has often been reported). The perfect gentleman, Tarzan returns Jane to her father and swings off into the distance. When Parker, Jane and Holt are captured by pygmies, Tarzan comes to the rescue, with an entourage of his elephant friends. At fade-out time, Jane has decided to renounce civilization and spend the rest of her life with Tarzan. The only one of the MGM "Tarzans" actually based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs originals, Tarzan the Ape Man proved a surprise hit, spawning an endless parade of sequels and remakes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Johnny Weissmuller
    Johnny Weissmuller - Tarzan
  • Maureen O'Sullivan
    Maureen O'Sullivan - Jane
  • Johnny Sheffield
    Johnny Sheffield - Boy
  • Image coming soon
    Ian Hunter - Austin Lancing
  • Henry Stephenson
    Henry Stephenson - Sir Thomas Lancing
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