The New York Times Review
apparently 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
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
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
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
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
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 first grade.
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.