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Tarzan of the Apes was one of the first films to make over a million dollars for its producers and due to its outstanding and surprising success, Bill Parsons lost no time in preparing a sequel. He hired Elmo Lincoln to star in The Romance of Tarzan.
"They made a mistake when they put Tarzan in clothes," Elmo said. "Tarzan is a wild man and he does not belong in a drawing room." For much of the movie Elmo found himself portraying Tarzan as a primitive savage in society's parlor.
Tarzan, born in the jungle of a white mother and reared by apes, saves the lives of a party of Englishmen who have traveled in search of him after hearing his history from a sailor. Tarzan is believed to be the heir of Lord and Lady Greystoke who lost their lives in the jungle. Clayton who has assumed the title of Lord Greystoke is anxious that the claim benot established as it will mean the loss of his wealth and position. He tells Professor Porter's daughter, Jane, that he saw Tarzan killed by savages, and teh party sets sail for home, believing Tarzan to be dead. When Tarzan reaches teh shore and discovers thathis beloved mate is gone he is unconsolable and swims to a boat which eventually takes him to American, and lands him near the Porter's home in California. He breaks into a dance-hall where he wins the admiration of La Belle Odine. Later he resuces Jane from bandits and assumes the station to which he is lawfully entitled. Clayton employs treachery to make Jane lose faith in Tarzan who in despair goes back to the jungle. La Belle Odine explains the treachery to Jane who follows her lover and amid scenes of primeval spledor the two again plight their troth.
Exhibitor's Trade Review ~ October 26, 1918
The photoplay version of "The Romance of Tarzan" was designed under the prevalent conception that the feminine contingent likes its sweethearts rough and that brute strength is a decided asset in a mate as well as a fascinating thing to watch. The feature consists chiefly of feats of strength and deeds of daring performed by Tarzan, the man reared b y the apes to a combination of Hercules, John L. Sullivan and Little Lord Fauntleroy. It is a lively, romantic drama with thrilling situations accumulating at a breath-taking rate.
ROMANCE OF TARZAN IS A BOX OFFICE WINNER
A Positive Review from
Exhibitor's Trade Review ~ October 26, 1918
The first Tarzan release was replete with the atmosphere of the jungle and was novel as well as realistic. The sequel transplants its characters to America after a few brief explanatory shots, and with the change of location there may come a change in the onlooker's forbearance. The picture has become a conventional western affair with swiftly moving events but not carrying all the conviction of the first part.
The early reels depicting the jungle with hits numerous savage men and beasts are colorful and sure to be enjoyed. Here the interest doesn't wane for a moment. Even the later scenes will receive the hearty support of patrons who enjoy a whirlwind of incidents favoring fiction rather than fact. The scenes reveal many beautiful exteriors and superb lighting effects.
Elmo Lincoln is the Tarzan and makes the figure a powerful one physically as well as giving a likable character study. Enid Markey is pleasing as the heroine, while the other members of the cast have been excellently chosen.
A sequel to Tarzan of the Apes and another filmazation of the "Tarzan" series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs is at the Strand this week under the title of "The Romance of Tarzan". The National made the picture, and the First National is releasing.
A NOT-SO-FLATTERING REVIEW OF
THE ROMANCE OF TARZAN
Variety ~ October 18, 1918
Wilfred Lucas directed from a scenario prepared by whom the program does not state. But Mr. Lucas followed the scenario. He could do naught else in this fantastic dream of Mr. Burroughs out in Iowa somewhere, who made the vividness of his man-ape extend into several volumes -- none, however, equal to the first -- and Mr. Burroughs is reported to never have been nearer Africa than the Atlantic sea-coast.
How those who have not read a "Tarzan" book will look upon this "Tarzan" picture is problematical. They may view it as a phantom tale badly done. To the "Tarzan" readers it will come as a shock to see their hero scenario-mangled with but the semblance of the original, and that is when Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan is in his primitive jungle costume, a breech-cloth and a knife.
Tarzan is dress-suited for his romance with Jane Greystoke (Enid Markey), and goes through a course of melodramatic tricks while in evening dress that usually calls for a balcony attachment in order that Tarzan may throw a man or so over the balcony. In this way the picture degenerates into a meller of the veriest sort, the antithesis in fact of of a "western", nothing more and maybe less.
The scenario writer built the Tarzan "romance" to suit himself or his employers getting away from the story, and making it quite too up to date on a California ranch; mixing in a dance hall and a temptress (Cleo Madison).
Mr. Lincoln in his dress suit looked like a professional wrestler, and acted like one when in action. He gave the "bull cry" of Tarzan's as though vainly trying to h it a top note, and no one could blame the beasts of the forest when he returned to Africa for walking out on him. A caption said he wasn't the Tarzan they had known, and he wasn't.
Some of the jungle scenes appear to be inserts from zoo or menagerie pictures. Others were trained animals. One especially was a lion that "chased" his victim without thought of springing upon him, as though the "victim" had a piece of meat tied on his rear coat tails. Another, a kindly elephant, showed up when Tarzan called for him, and loped off with Tarzan hanging onto his ears, after Tarzan, the lion killer, was almost all in from knocking a couple of men senseless. He kills a lion in this film when in the jungle as the original, and when original Mr. Lincoln can secure and hold attention, but when unoriginal in his square shouldered, open front black and white he is anything but and merely a passing look.
Miss Markey appeared to amble through her simplified role without distinction in either direction until Miss Madison came onto the scene. This was late, but Miss Madison managed to push Miss Markey so far back into the acting range behind her that when the two women met there was no longer a choice. The two women's roles would have been exchanged, with Miss Madison Tarzan's sweetheart, to carry conviction.
The jungle scenes will be liked by the children. There's little else about this "Tarzan" picture to like.
Birth: Otto Elmo Linkenhelt ~ February 6, 1889 ~ Rochester, Indiana, USA
The 1918 silent film:
The Romance of Tarzan
Starring Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan
Also Credited As: Lincoln Helt ~ Otto Lincoln ~ Oscar Linkenhelt ~ Otto Elmo Linkenhelt ~ Otto Linkenhelt
Death: June 27, 1952 ~ Los Angeles, California
Mini Bio from IMDB: A former Arkansas peace officer, Elmo Linkenhelt worked in D.W. Griffith's "The Battle of Elderbush Gulch" (1912). In a fight scene his shirt was partially torn off, displaying his powerful chest. Griffith noticed, called him over, and told him "That's quite a chest you have there". Griffith changed the name to Elmo Lincoln and featured him in several of his films. He got the role in "Tarzan of the Apes" when, a few days after production began, World War I broke out an the man originally contracted to play Tarzan (Winslow Wilson - stocky New York actor and ukelele player) walked off the set and enlisted. The film was a boxoffice smash, one of the first to earn over a million dollars. The sequel "Romance of Tarzan" just broke even. He did three successful serials and a feature for Universal Film Manufacturing before returning in "The Adventures of Tarzan" in 1921, his last Apeman performance. His final silent performance was in a cheap Rayat serial "King of the Jungle" (1927) after which he moved to Mexico and invested in mining. He came back to play a number of bit parts and appeared briefly in the Seal Brothers Circus as "The Original Tarzan in Person". In 1949 he had a part as a fisherman in "Tarzan's Magic Fountain". Just before his death he had a bit part in "Carrie" which starred one of his heroes, Lawrence Olivier.
See the more complete biography at the My Father, Elmo Lincoln site in ERBzine 0283
Director: Wilfred Lucas
Writers: Edgar Rice Burroughs (novel) ~ Bess Meredyth
Elmo Lincoln ~ Tarzan
Enid Markey ~ Jane
Gordon Griffith ~ Tarzan as a Boy
Thomas Jefferson ~ Professor Porter
Cleo Madison ~ The Other Woman
Clyde Benson ~ Lawyer
Monte Blue ~ Juan
True Boardman ~ Lord Greystoke
John Cook ~ Undetermined Role
Nigel De Brulier ~ Priest
Phil Dunham ~ Englishman
George B. French ~ Binns
Colin Kenny ~ Clayton
Kathleen Kirkham ~ Lady Greystoke
Click for larger image
OFF-SITE WEB REFS
ERB and the Silver Screen Volume I - The Silent Years by Jerry Schneider
Jerry Schneider's Movie Making Locations
Elmo Lincoln, The Original Tarzan
Fulton County: Home of Elmo Lincoln
Classic Images: Five Tarzans
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