The Return of Tarzan starring Gene Pollar
"The Return of Tarzan," which comes to the Jefferson starting Wednesday, is the screen version of the famous story by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This second screen story of Tarzan, the ape man, one of the most picturesque fiction personalities conceived, depicts his thrilling experiences among civilized peoples, and his eventual return to his jungle home.
The story opens with Tarzan aboard a France bound steamer. Hardly has the ship left her pier when Tarzan, watching a card game, exposes a couple of card cheats who are trying to humiliate the Count de Coude, in the hope that they can obtain from him, by blackmail, some valuable papers in his possession, as a member of the French diplomatic service. One of them, Rokoff, the Countess de Coude's brother is an agent of the Russian government. Resenting his interference, the two conspire to revenge themselves upon the indifferent Tarzan, who is a willing victim of their plots. Arrived in Paris, he is drawn into a duel with the Count de Coude through Rokoff's efforts to compromise him with the countess.
Still desirous of getting rid of Tarzan, who he realizes is a formidable enemy, Rokoff contrives to get him into a house on one of the dark Paris streets where are a band of Apaches hired to kill him, but the mighty ape man overpowers them and escapes.
Soon after this, Tarzan accepts a diplomatic position and leaves for Algiers, where again he encounters Rokoff and his accomplice, who are aligned with the very man Tarzan has been sent to track. After numerous hand to hand fights Tarzan is finally made captive, bound to a tree in an oasis and left to be killed by desert beasts. A dancing girl who had tried to help him escape, unbinds him just in time for him to grapple with a huge lion, which he finally kills with his bare hands.
Receiving instructions to go to Cape Town, he boards a steamer for South Africa and again comes under the Russian and his ally, who, determined to get rid of their enemy for good, toss him overboard one night as he stands unsuspecting by the rail. Tarzan after floating and swimming for hours is finally cast up on the African shore, to the very jungle in which he had lived and been brought up by the ape.
Meantime, Jane Porter, the girl Tarzan loves, who, with her father and her fiancee is cruising on the private yacht of a Lord Tennington, arrives in Cape Town, and there meets the villain Rokoff, traveling under an assumed name, and an old schoolmate, Hazel Strong, who had been on the same ship. When the party leaves Cape Town they all go as guests of Lord Tennington on his yacht. A ship fire sends everyone to the lifeboats, and Jane finds herself in the boat with her fiancé and Rokoff, without provisions and separated from the others. After days of drifting under the torrid sun the boat finally reaches the African coast. Then begins a series of adventures that end with Tarzan's rescue from a ferocious lion of the girl he loves -- and who, he finds to his great happiness really loves him.
Huge Menagerie In Coming "Tarzan" Film
If you think the making of an animal picture is not difficult listen to the wail of Director Harry Revier, who had charge of the making of "The Return of Tarzan," which comes to the Jefferson for four days, commencing Wednesday.
Mr. Revier, in addition to handling more than six hundred human artists was blessed with sixty-three beasts, some of which had no previous experience working with groups of people and others totally new to captivity.
Nine lions, five leopards, fifteen apes, six tigers, two chimpanzees, two elephants and twenty-four monkeys constitute the animalistic contribution to "The Return of Tarzan," and in some of the scenes ten or more animals of varied specie were used and it was in these episodes that Director Revier's work was cut out for him.
In a scene in which Gene Pollar as Tarzan drops from among a group of apes, nestling in trees, to the ground and has his bare handed fight against the lion, it required hours upon hours to induce the apes to remain quiet in the presence of the jungle king.
Again when Tarzan rides off on the head of his elephant, the huge beast, scenting the lion, balked and tore off through the underbrush and several days were spent trying to accustom the elephant to the lion.
At no time would the monkeys properly face the camera if any lions, tigers or man-eaters were within smelling distance, and a continual combat between the apes of different species so disturbed the director and players that a number of highly interesting scenes were deleted because of the apes' actions.
The two fights between Tarzan and the lions were staged just a s shown on the screen. A well trained lion, but with teeth and talons untampered with, actually battled with Tarzan and of course, permitted the man to win, and at a word from its trainer, "played dead" just as a trained dog would -- with the result that a most unusual effect is achieved.
Ten days of constant companionship between Tarzan and the apes were necessary to induce the apes to follow Tarzan about.
Pollar lived at the studio and fed the apes each day for more than a week, then when the animals became used to his kindness, the scenes were staged and in order to get proper camera effects, the scenes were made over no less than ten times.
Elephants became tempermental, lions aggravated, apes and monkeys over-playful and human artists scared to death, all of which contributed to the director's worries, but a sensational film recruited and the 60,000 feet of negative exposed and 7,000 feet of entertainment achieved therefrom, were well worth the time and danger.
From the Ron de Laat Collection
ERBzine Silver Screen: The Revenge of Tarzan / The Return of Tarzan
ERBzine Silver Screen Resource Guide
Gene Pollar in Wikipedia
Gene Pollar in IMDB
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