The New York Times Review
dwelt in the jungle since they first met in "Tarzan, the Ape Man," Johnny
Weissmuller, the swimming ace, and the comely Irish colleen, Maureen O'Sullivan,
are now to be seen at the Capitol in a sequel to their first adventure.
The current offering, which is hailed as " Tarzan and His Mate," is, if
anything, even more fantastic than its predecessor. One gathers that the
first year of Tarzan and Jane Parker (Miss O'Sullivan) in the African wilds
has been a happy one, that they have made many friends among apes and elephants
and that they have dozens of arboreal abodes.
Harry Holt and Martin Arlington are companions on an expedition. Holt
hopes to win back his sweetheart, Jane, but Arlington's only wish is to
bring back plenty of ivory. It seems to be no more difficult to find Tarzan
and Jane than it is to locate Times Square in Manhattan. Jane's wardrobe
is limited and the very thoughtful Holt has brought with him trunks filled
with many gowns and frocks, some of which are not precisely suited to leaping
from tree to tree as Tarzan and his mate do. Perfume and various other
gifts to appeal to the feminine taste are brought by the love-lorn Holt.
Tarzan does not think much of the perfume and even less of a silk gown.
He is a man of the forest, an emperor, so to speak, of the jungle, who
likes to get his breakfast by diving into a pool and bringing forth a fish.
Coffee has a peculiarly distasteful flavor to him. He does, however, cherish
his hunting knife, for with it he has laid low many jungle outlaws, such
as lions, tigers, leopards, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and so forth.
It does not even take Tarzan's breath away to have a set-to in the water
with a crocodile, and Jane expects him to emerge from the fray victorious,
as he does at all times. Here he rides astride rhinoceros and has encounters
with a variety of animals. It is all in a day's work! He even expects Jane
to be as agile as he is, seeing to it that she does her daily dozen, in
the shape of springing from branch to branch and taking headers into lakes.
Tarzan is no easy person to please. He speaks only an occasional word,
and even then he gets mixed up, which is apt to make one conclude that
there must be days that pall upon Jane. Yet she prefers the jungle to Mayfair.
They yowl to each other and cover distance far quicker via the tress
than they could on the ground. In case there should not be enough excitement
furnished by jungle fauna and the villainous Arlington, who, be it known,
would do anything for a couple of hundred ivory tusks, there is a host
of savages, evidently of two different tribes. These natives are quite
expert with their spears and arrows.
Aside from the wild tale, this film is a marvel from a photographic
standpoint. Tarzan has his hand to hand encounters with leopards, hippopotamuses
and other beasts, and Jane has anything but a merry time with several lions.
Some of them are evidently riddled with bullets, but just when one may
think that the beasts' teeth have been extracted and that their mouths
are wired, one perceives Tarzan's arm in a lion's jaw equipped with splendid
white teeth. In another instance one perceives an elephant limping along
and finally lying down to die in a spot known as "the elephants' burial
ground." This provoked from a young lass: "Oh, the poor lamb!" Just got
her animals mixed, but her sympathy was sincere.
Needless to say that Miss O'Sullivan and Mr. Weissmuller acquit themselves
in the same favorable fashion they did in their former hectic experiences.
Time Magazine Review
Tarzan and His Mate contains no implication that Tarzan and Jane
Parker have been married. They are living together in natural frivolity,
ignoring the precepts of Tsar Hays and obeying no civilized conventions
except, perhaps, those of birth control.
A wild, disgraceful, highly entertaining orgy of comic, sensual and
sadistic nonsense, Tarzan and His Mate was brilliantly directed
by Cedric Gibbons, and acted with vigor by Weissmuller and O'Sullivan.
It may be silly, but it continues to be fascinating, this "Tarzan" theme.
In Tarzan and His Mate, second of the Metro series with Johnny Weissmuller,
the monkeys do everything but bake cakes and the very human elephants always
seem on the verge of sitting down for a nice quiet game of chess; yet the
picture has a strange sort of power that overcomes the total lack of logic
and (probably most important) it is an extraordinarily beautiful photographic
specimen. The picture will doubtless draw business.
Tarzan No. 1 ended with Tarz and the white girl from England at peace
in their jungle kingdom. They're again at peace as No. 2 ends, but in the
92 minutes between the two fade-outs they're almost in pieces, several
times. Trouble starts soon as the domain of Mr. and Mrs. Tarzan (Johnny
Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan) is trespassed upon by Neil Hamilton
and Paul Cavanagh, a couple of Miss O'Sullivan's heels from Mayfair. The
boys after the fortune in ivory which lies in a pachyderm graveyard.
There are gory battles between bands of natives to liven up the
proceedings when Tarzan isn't fighting some jungle beast that is just about
to devour his mate. Tarz's stiffest encounters are with a horned rhinoceros
and a giant alligator, respectively. His encounter with the rhino is obviously
phoney and seemingly impossible, but so well done that it provides a real
thrill. The underwater battle with the 'gator supplies a big kick also.
Tarz's hand-to-paw grappling with lions are, in comparison, just child's
play even when one lion is close-upped with Tarzan's arm in his kisser,
and the long teeth showing. Miraculously, when the arm is withdrawn it
bears nary a scratch. But such slight discrepancies are easily overlooked,
since it's granted that Tarz is a cinch bet in all matches, despite that
he always gives away at least two or three tons in weight.
But for a white man's bullet, Tarz is just another sucker. He is temporarily
felled by a slug tossed at him by Cavanagh, who at first can't make up
his mind whether he wants the ivory or Mrs. Tarzan, and then decides he
wants both. In this animal picture, Cavanagh represents the species skunk.
Apes of both the genuine and prop variety play a large part in the picture.
One of the real ones, called Cheta, does messenger service for Tarz whenever
the missus is in danger, such as the identical pair of lions that a few
moments before had made a meal of Cavanagh and Hamilton.
Tarzan and his mate spend most of their time swinging through the branches.
Film goes so far as to stage a regulation flying act, with Tarz tossing
Mrs. Tarz into an aerial loop, to be caught by the outstretched arms of
an ape. The Tarzans also do some fancy swimming, particularly during a
tank sequence when Weissmuller and a lady swimmer doubling for Miss O'Sullivan,
perform some artistic submarine formations. The lady is brassiereless but
photographed from the side only. Weissmuller duplicates his first Tarzan
performance, which means the girls will probably go strong for him again.
Miss O'Sullivan, never wearing much in the way of clothes, isn't bad to
look at from the masculine viewpoint.
The Culver City jungle and studio exteriors were so constructed as to
look like the real thing. In every technical department, the picture is
Los Angeles Times Review Excerpt
This sequel was filled with enough adventure, violence and erotic fantasy
to keep the Hays Office censors working overtime. Nothing equals these
original early talkies. Weismuller's Tarzan makes Harrison Ford's Indiana
Jones look like a wimp, and Marureen O'Sullivan's Jane makes Bo Derek look
anemic, even in black and white.