Cast & Crew
After Englishman Harry Holt joins up with newly arrived Martin Arlington at an African river village, the two men discuss their upcoming safari and Harry's concern about Jane Parker, a former sweetheart who now lives in the jungle with her ape-nurtured husband "Tarzan." As per the instructions of the heartsick Harry, who hopes to lure Jane away from Tarzan, Martin has brought with him the latest fashions from Paris. With a small band of tribesmen, led by the loyal Saidi, Harry and Martin begin their journey into the jungle to find not only Jane, but ivory-rich elephant burial grounds as well. Soon the white men are ambushed by hostile tribesmen, who scare off some of the safari laborers and drive the rest from their sacred ground. After a vicious attack by gorillas on a mountain cliff, Harry and Martin finally meet up with Tarzan and Jane. Although Jane appreciates Harry's elegant clothes, she tells him that she will never leave Tarzan or the jungle. The next morning, after Tarzan kills a lion that threatens Jane, Martin and Harry resume their trek, aided by an elephant that Tarzan has called for them. Soon after, while Tarzan and Jane play in the jungle, a rhinocerous attacks Jane and kills Cheeta, Tarzan's faithful chimpanzee. Tarzan rescues Jane and kills the rhinoceros with his knife, then is called on to fight a leopard and a crocodile, which also succumb to his superior strength. That night, Tarzan learns that Martin and Harry are going to rob the elephant burial grounds of their ivory and refuses to act as their guide. Consequently, Martin, who is aware that elephants instinctively seek the grounds when they are dying, shoots Tarzan's elephant. Although intimidated by Tarzan, Martin and Harry follow the fatally wounded elephant to its ancient burial grounds. Soon after they arrive at the site, however, Tarzan, Jane and a troupe of elephants charge the place and prevent them from leaving with any ivory. To trick Tarzan, Martin promises him that the safari will abandon the ivory and return to camp the next morning. Martin, who also desires Jane, then shoots Tarzan as he is gathering breakfast and leaves him to be devoured by a river crocodile. Tarzan, however, is rescued by a hippopotamus and a gorilla, who carries him into the jungle, where he is nursed by Cheeta's daughter, Little Cheeta, and her chimpanzee group. Jane, meanwhile, learns from Martin that Tarzan is dead and sadly prepares to leave with the ivory-laden safari. As they are departing, however, Little Cheeta finds Jane and communicates to her that Tarzan is alive. Before she can follow Little Cheeta, angry tribesmen attack and surround the safari. During a prolonged battle with the tribesmen and a giant herd of hungry lions, in which both Harry and Martin are killed, Tarzan finally locates Jane and rescues her from sure death.
Charles G. Clarke
Bernard H. Hyman
James Kevin Mcguinness
C. S. Pratt
Howard Emmett Rogers
Tarzan and His Mate
Johnny Weissmuller is the best example of this. All anybody knew about him when he was cast as Tarzan, King of the Jungle, was that he was a champion amateur swimmer, was strikingly handsome, and couldn't act a lick. And that was all anybody knew about him 12 movies and 16 years later, when he finally quit playing Tarzan and took on the less-heralded role of Jungle Jim. Tarzan and His Mate (1934) was the second, and easily the most memorable, of Weissmuller's Tarzan pictures. It's briskly paced, beautifully photographed, and features a racy swimming sequence that was censored at the time of the movie's release. All that, and you get to see Tarzan wrestle a rubber alligator!
This time around, Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton), who visited the jungle in the first movie, returns to Africa looking for ivory. He's accompanied by his friend, Martin Arlington (Paul Cavanagh). Holt also intends to bring Jane back to "civilization" with him, not that she's particularly interested in returning. Tarzan, for his part, will eventually try to stop Holt's expedition from plundering ivory from the sacred elephant burial grounds, and will confront an assortment of wild animals in the process. It's not exactly War and Peace, but it didn't need to be.
Back in 1934, the scene that caused all the commotion was available in three different versions that were edited by MGM to meet the standards of particular markets. However, the original one was restored when Ted Turner issued Tarzan and His Mate on video in 1991. In it, Tarzan and Jane (in this instance, O'Sullivan's swimming double, Josephine McKim) dance a graceful underwater ballet...and Jane is completely nude! Then, when she rises out of the water, O'Sullivan (now re-assuming the role) flashes a bare breast. Such big-screen impropriety was virtually unheard of at the time, and the Production Code Office had a fit. O'Sullivan's scant costume, when coupled with her utterly inescapable sexual charisma, was bad enough. Censors certainly didn't need her, or anyone else, stripping off on-screen before they went swimming.
Who knows how or why MGM thought it could get away with such a move. The sequence may well have made it as far as it did due to the confusion surrounding the entire production. Less than a month into shooting, the original director, Cedric Gibbons, was replaced by Jack Conway, although there's no record of exactly why this happened. Then Rod La Rocque was replaced by Paul Cavanagh. William Stack and Desmond Roberts also stepped in, taking over roles that had originally been cast with other actors.
When filming was finished, Gibbons promptly went back to his old job as an MGM art director. He worked on literally hundreds of pictures between 1924 and the late 1950s, but, for whatever forgotten reason, Tarzan and His Mate was the only one he ever directed. In later years, to confuse things even further, O'Sullivan insisted that most of the film was actually directed by James C. McKay! She also, according to her actress daughter, Mia Farrow, used to refer to her ornery cast mate, Cheetah the chimpanzee, as "that bastard."
Whatever the production's problems - whether human or monkey-related - Weissmuller certainly wasn't among them. He knew he was a limited performer, and was willing to throw himself into any sequence, even going so far as to briefly ride a rhinoceros, a move that didn't exactly please his wife, actress Lupe Velez. However, Alfred Codona doubled for Weissmuller when Tarzan was required to swing through the trees, and a man named Bert Nelson wrestled the lions. Weissmuller may have been enthusiastic, but he certainly wasn't an idiot.
As time goes on, people may remember that Weissmuller was a multiple Olympic gold medal winner, but they probably don't realize just how gifted he was. Before Mark Spitz shattered several world records at the 1972 Olympics, Weissmuller was considered the greatest swimmer who ever lived. You don't get nicknames like "The Human Hydroplane," "The Prince of Waves," and "The Aquatic Wonder" for nothing.
From the moment Weissmuller entered competitive swimming in 1921, until he retired seven years later, he never lost a race. Never. During the 1920s, he racked up 36 individual AAU championships and 67 world championships. He was also the first swimmer to break the one-minute mark in the 100 meters, and eventually held 51 world records and 94 American records. After a career like that, playing Tarzan was almost a step down, although Weissmuller was paid handsomely to do it.
Producer: Bernard H. Hyman
Director: Jack Conway, Cedric Gibbons
Screenplay: Leon Gordon, James K. McGuinness, Howard Emmett Rogers
Cinematography: Charles G. Clarke, Clyde De Vinna
Film Editing: Tom Held
Art Direction: A. Arnold Gillespie
Music: William Axt, Paul Marquardt, George Richelavie, Fritz Stahlberg
Cast: Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan), Maureen O'Sullivan (Jane Parker), Paul Cavanagh (Martin Arlington), Forrester Harvey (Beamish), Nathan Curry (Saidi), William Stack (Pierce).
by Paul Tatara
Tarzan and His Mate
The Tarzan Collection on DVD - Tarzan on DVD
George Feltenstein, WHV's VP Classic Catalog, notes, "Olympic gold medallist Johnny Weissmuller and the incredibly beautiful and talented Maureen O'Sullivan are certainly the definitive Tarzan and Jane. They were also the most popular and most memorable to portray Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle hero and heroine, paving the way for future interpretations like Hugh Hudson's and Bo Derek's."
All six of their M-G-M movies are being offered on this four-disc set which will arrive just in time to commemorate the anniversary of Johnny Weissmuller's 100th Birthday. The six features are presented on three discs, with a fourth disc exclusively devoted to the bonus features.
Tarzan The Ape Man - In their first film, Tarzan meets Jane when she arrives in Africa to join her father's ivory hunting expedition. Smitten, Tarzan kidnaps Jane. After she manages to escape she can't stop thinking about the "Lord of the Apes." When a tribe of pygmies traps the expedition, Jane sends Cheetah to bring Tarzan, who rescues them with the help of his elephants. This time he captures her heart and as the film ends, she chooses to stay.
Tarzan And His Mate - Recently inducted by the Library of Congress into the National Film Registry, Tarzan And His Mate is considered one of the few Hollywood sequels that surpassed the original. In this adventure, Jane's father returns to Africa to continue his search for the elephant burial grounds, hoping that Tarzan will help him. When Tarzan refuses, Jane's father decides to continue anyway and the members of the expedition soon find themselves in grave peril. The popular crocodile battle sequence is used here for the first time and many fans of Tarzan agree this is the best film ever made about the "Lord of the Jungle." The DVD release contains the original uncensored "pre-code" version of the film, containing the notorious nude swimming scene which was deleted prior to theatrical release.
Tarzan Escapes - Jane's cousins try to convince her to claim a fortune bequeathed to her back in England. The action accelerates when their unscrupulous guide attempts to capture Tarzan and turn him into a sideshow attraction to entertain the public.
Tarzan Finds A Son! - Cheetah finds an infant left alone after his parents die in a plane crash and brings the baby home to Tarzan and Jane. They are delighted to take him in and raise him. Five years later a search party comes looking for "Boy" who happens to be an heir to a multi-million dollar fortune. The tree house is rocked when Jane defies Tarzan to lead the search party and "Boy" back to civilization. On the way they are captured by hostile natives and after a breathtaking escape by "Boy," Tarzan and the elephants rescue everyone.
Tarzan's Secret Treasure - Jane and "Boy" are kidnapped by evil villains who want Tarzan to lead them to a treasure in gold. Jane, "Boy" and the villains are then captured by wicked natives and once again Tarzan and his elephants show up to save the day!
Tarzan's New York Adventure - A circus owner smuggles "Boy" out of the jungle and brings him to New York to perform in a show. Jane and Tarzan follow to get their son back. A custody trial is held during which Tarzan is jailed after becoming violent in the courtroom. He escapes, finds the circus and rescues his son with the help of the circus elephants.
The bonus features on this disc will include:
- Silver Screen: King of the Jungle, an all-new feature length documentary about Tarzan on screen, featuring interviews with Maureen O'Sullivan and Johnny Weissmuller, Jr., as well as several noted film historians and "Tarzan experts."
- Vintage vault treasure: Jimmy Durante as Schnarzan the Conqueror (from Hollywood Party)
- Two shorts featuring Johnny Weissmuller
- MGM on Location: Johnny Weissmuller (The filming of Tarzan Finds a Son!)
- Rough Dough
- Theatrical trailers of all six Weissmuller/O'Sullivan films
Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of The Apes
* All-new 20th Anniversary Digital Transfer Edition
This extraordinary saga explores the dual nature of Tarzan as he struggles to repress his wild jungle instincts and become the civilized heir to an Earldom. Called "enthralling and gloriously beautiful," by Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times, the film stars Christopher Lambert as the darkly intense Tarzan and Andie MacDowell (Green Card, Four Weddings and A Funeral) who made her movie debut as Jane Porter in this lavish production directed by Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire). The film also stars Sir Ralph Richardson (Watership Down, Dr. Zhivago) in one of his final performances along with Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings Trilogy).
The bonus content on this disc includes:
- 20th Anniversary digital transfer
- Commentary by director Hugh Hudson and associate producer Garth Thomas
- Theatrical trailer
- Soundtrack re-mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1
- Widescreen version dual-layer format
- Languages: English & French with Subtitles in English, French & Spanish
Tarzan The Ape Man (1981)
This highly provocative version of the original Tarzan story is told from Jane's point of view. This time, when Jane (Bo Derek) arrives in Africa to visit her father (Richard Harris) and repeatedly finds herself in peril, the relationship which develops between Jane and her heroic Tarzan (Miles O'Keeffe) steams up the screen in ways the previous films left to viewers' imaginations. While Maureen O'Sullivan, Andie MacDowell, and other "Janes" were certainly considered beautiful and sexy, Bo Derek's portrayal is perhaps the most famously erotic. John Derek, Bo's husband, directed this sexually charged expedition through the wilds of Africa with that specific goal in mind.
The DVD will include the following extra content:
- Theatrical trailer
- Widescreen version dual-layer format
- English: Dolby surround stereo
- Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
The Tarzan Collection on DVD - Tarzan on DVD
There is a scene in which Tarzan, standing on a tree limb with Jane, pulls at Jane's scanty outfit and persuades her to dive into a lake with him. The two swim for a while and eventually surface. When Jane rises out of the water, one of her breasts is fully exposed. Because various groups, including official censors of the Hays Office, criticized the scene for being too erotic, it was cut by MGM.
The "African" elephants were actually Indian elephants fitted with prosthetic tusks and ears, as MGM already owned several Indian elephants and considered them easier to handle.
The nude swimming scene was eight minutes long in one cut of the film but conservative outrage forced MGM to cut the vast majority of the scene.
Cedric Gibbons was replaced as director due to other duties as the head of MGM's art department. He was officially replaced by 'Jack Conway (I)' . Maureen O'Sullivan recalled that the actual direction was carried out by James C. McKay (uncredited as director), who was only billed as the animal director. Betty Roth (wife of animal supervisor Louis Roth) doubled for Maureen O'Sullivan for some close up lion scenes at the end of filming due to Maureen O'Sullivans absence for an appendectomy.
In the opening onscreen cast list, Johnny Weissmuller's name appears last as "and Johnny Weissmuller as 'Tarzan.'" Tarzan and His Mate was the only film for which Cedric Gibbons, the head of M-G-M's art department, received a directing credit. Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan and Neil Hamilton revived the roles they had portrayed in M-G-M's 1932 film Tarzan, the Ape Man. As indicated by trade paper news items, the filming process was extremely long and complicated. (Hollywood Reporter proclaimed that the production schedule on Tarzan and His Mate-six months-was the longest in cinematic history.) In mid-June 1932, Hollywood Reporter announced that former independent producer Bud Barsky was to write the "original yarn" for the as yet untitled Tarzan sequel, and was to be assisted by "M-G-M staffers" R. L. Johnson and Arthur S. Hyman. The exact nature of these writers' contributions to the final film has not been determined. The same item noted that the M-G-M was considering filming the picture in Africa. In late July 1932, Hollywood Reporter announced that a film crew was being sent to the Lake Rudolph region in Africa, presumably for background shots. It is not known if any African footage was used in the final film.
A June 29, 1933 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that W. S. Van Dyke was to be Gibbons' co-director. By July 1, 1933, Van Dyke was dropped from the project, and Gibbons was announced as the film's sole director. In September 1933, however, Hollywood Reporter announced that Jack Conway, an M-G-M contract director, was to take over the direction of one of Gibbons' units. Modern sources contend that Conway was the true director of the picture. Advertisements for the film credit James McKay with staging the "lion, monkey and hippo" scenes.
A late August 1933 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Rod La Rocque had been pulled from the cast and replaced by Paul Cavanagh because of miscasting. Hollywood Reporter production charts list Frank Reicher, Murray Kinnell and Yola D'Avril as cast members. Modern sources note that Reicher and Kinnell were replaced by Desmond Roberts and William Stack, respectively. A viewing of the film supports this contention. It is not known if D'Avril was replaced by Doris Lloyd, or if her part simply was edited from the picture. However, only one actress besides O'Sullivan was seen in the viewed print. Although reviews refer to the role played by Doris Lloyd as "Mrs. Cutten," the copyright cutting continuity lists the character's name as "Mrs. Feronde." (Additional viewing supports the cutting continuity's assertion that the character's name is not "Cutten.") A late February 1934 Hollywood Reporter production chart credits Sidney Wagner as a co-photographer with Clyde DeVinna. It is not known if Wagner actually worked on the production.
According to censorship files contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, an underwater swimming sequence in the picture caused much consternation with the Hays Office. On April 10, 1934, Joseph I. Breen, director of public relations of the MPPDA, reported to MPPDA President Will H. Hays that Tarzan and His Mate had been rejected because of shots in which "the girl was shown completely in the nude." (Modern sources state that Josephine McKim, an Olympic swimmer, doubled for Maureen O'Sullivan in the sequence, and claim that the scene was inspired by RKO's 1932 tropical film The Bird of Paradise, which featured nude swimming by Dolores Del Rio.) After Breen verbally rejected the film because of the sequence, an AMPP jury composed of B. B. Kahane of RKO, Carl Laemmle, Jr. of Universal and Winfield Sheehan of Fox viewed the picture and agreed with Breen. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, however, it was Sheehan and Jack Warner of Warner Bros. who cast the deciding votes that "eliminated one of the most beautiful scenes" from the picture. Breen described the offending scenes in a memo to Hays: "The man in the shot wore a loin cloth, but a critical examination of the shot indicated that the woman was stark naked. There were four or five shots of the woman, which the jury referred to repeatedly as 'frontal' shots, which showed the front of the woman's body."
When M-G-M production head Irving G. Thalberg protested the jury's decision by claiming that an earlier M-G-M film, White Shadows of the South Seas, had "fifty naked women" in it, the jurors screened that film and determined that none of the women were naked. By April 24, 1934, all prints of Tarzan and His Mate in all territories were ordered changed. Apparently, however, the nude shots were still being shown in some territories that had no censor boards, which was a Code violation. The trailer for the movie contained the nude shots and was ordered changed. In a June 28, 1934 memo, Breen noted that a substituted sequence that was being shown in New York should "eliminate all views of girl swimming under water where breasts are unduly exposed."
Modern sources add the following information about the censorship situation: M-G-M eventually released three different versions of the scene: one in which Jane is fully clothed, one in which only her breasts were exposed and the one in which she is completely naked. When the PCA became aware of the selective censorship, they forced the studio to remove the offending scene from the film's negative. The deleted scene survives only in the studio's master positive print. Prints containing Jane's partial nudity are still shown theatrically, however.
Modern sources add the following information about the production: Because of the success of their 1932 film Tarzan, the Ape Man, M-G-M paid Edgar Rice Burrough's $45,000 for the right to make two sequels in April of the same year. During the first half of 1933, the above mentioned writers, C. Gardner Sullivan and various other writers worked on outlines and treatments for the sequel. In March 1933, credited writer Leon Gordon collaborated with producer Hyman, Gibbons (acting as art director) and production manager J. J. Cohn about specific scenes, including an elaborate jungle fire sequence that eventually was dropped from the script. Howard Emmett Rogers wrote a dialogue continuity in May 1933, which was then developed into a screenplay by James K. McGuinness. Special effects, overseen by Gibbons and executed by Arnold Gillespie, Warren Newcombe, James Basevi and Irving Reis, were complex and involved such devices as matte paintings, miniatures, split screens, rear projection and soft-edge wipes.
Although the studio had scrapped plans to film in Africa, several locations around Los Angeles were used, including Sherwood Forest, Lake Sherwood, Whittier, Big Tugunga and China Flats. Bert Nelson and George Emerson, the M-G-M animal trainer, doubled for Weissmuller. Trapeze artists Alfred Codona and the Flying Codonas, who had performed in the first Tarzan film, also doubled for Weissmuller and O'Sullivan, and acted as the elder Cheeta. Dressed in ape suits, The Picchianis performed in the film, and one of the troupe doubled for Weissmuller in a tree jumping sequence. Nelson also doubled for Paul Cavanagh. As with Tarzan, the Ape Man, Indian elephants, taken from M-G-M's zoo, had attachments fixed to their ears and tusks to suggest African elephants. During the crocodile wrestling scene, a mechanical crocodile, equipped with nigrosine dye sacks to simulate blood, was used. Retakes, pick-up shots and additional footage of Tarzan, the lions and Jane, as doubled by Betty Roth, were completed in late March 1934. M-G-M had already spent $1,279,142 on the production. In early April 1934, after previews, M-G-M cut the film from eleven to nine reels, editing out fourteen-and-a-half minutes. Copyright records list the film's length as eleven reels. Preview running times, as reported in trade journals, vary from general release running times by eleven to twenty-four minutes.
Modern sources add the following names to the crew: Animal supv George Emerson, Louis Roth and Louis Goebel; Special eff dir James Basevi; Art eff Warren Newcombe; Photography Effects Irving Ries; Addl composite eff Dunning Process Company and Williams Composite Laboratories; Operative cam Lester White, Bob Roberts, Ellsworth Fredericks, Ray Ramsey and William Foxall; Sd eff T. B. Hoffman, James Graham and Michael Steinore; Mus by George Richelavie, Fritz Stahlberg, Paul Marquardt and Dr. William Axt. Additional cast from modern sources includes Paul Porcasi (Señor Perron), Everett Brown (Bearer) and Ray Corrigan (Ape). Corrigan is also listed as a stunt man. For information on other films featuring the Tarzan character, consult the Series Index and for Tarzan, the Ape Man.