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Volume 1373

Colour Adaptations of the
MGM Tarzan Films
COOP Chocolate Cards Series
Published in Belgium in French and Dutch
From the Ron de Laat Collection


Tarzan the Ape Man ~ 1932: (01h:40m:03s)
Review of the MGM DVD Version from the Digitally Obsessed Site  by Nate Myers

After venturing into Africa with 1931's Trader Horn, W.S. Van Dyke makes a return trip to uncover Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved lord of the apes, Tarzan. The cinema is familiar ground for Burroughs' character, having been featured in numerous silents, but now Tarzan gets the opportunity to howl out in his first full talking picture!

James Parker (C. Aubrey Smith) and his friend, Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton), run a general store in Central Africa, where it is rumored that the elephants have a secret graveyard that contains a million pounds of ivory. But of course, nobody has ever seen the graveyard because it is held sacred by savage cannibal tribes who will kill any safari that attempts to find the treasure. Like the brave men they are, this does not deter Parker and Holt, who have a chance to make more money than any man would dare dream. There's just one hitch: Parker's daughter, Jane (the fair Maureen O'Sullivan), has unexpectedly arrived in Africa and is insisting that she join the safari.

Now the smart thing would be to leave the innocent, naïve girl behind, but what fun would that be? Jane's youthful optimism and zest for Africa's jungles are just what the movie needs to sustain the story's opening before the "great white ape" arrives. When Tarzan (five-time Olympic gold medallist Johnny Weissmuller) does finally arrive on screen, the movie is a quarter of the way over, but the fun is just beginning. The men are reluctant to embrace this wild man with the bizarre howl that sounds more akin to Swiss yodelers than African animals. Tarzan looms above the safari with his good friend Cheeta (at times played by a real monkey and at others played by a guy in an ape suit), but when the local Ubangi tribe attacks them, Jane gets lost in the shuffle and is only saved by Tarzan's quick action. He whisks her off to his tree house, where the two play out the parts of reluctant lovers.

Contrary to popular belief, the line "Me Tarzan, you Jane" is never once uttered. Instead, Tarzan barely speaks, which is a good thing. Weissmuller is undoubtedly one of the premier athletes of the last century, spawning from a time when individuals accomplished amazing physical feats without the aid of steroids. But what he is not is an actor. His skills are purely physical, and Tarzan is the role he was born to play. Weissmuller, perhaps inadvertently, gives the best portrayal of Tarzan in screen history precisely because he is physical. Tarzan is a primitive man, more ape than human. Complimenting Tarzan's ape-like qualities is Jane, who has never been more adorable or lustful than here in O'Sullivan's marvelously understated performance. The two actors have undeniable chemistry, with Weissmuller's great physicality and O'Sullivan's nuanced portrayal combining to make a great love story.

The love story is astonishingly suggestive, particularly in Tarzan and Jane's little bathing sequence that begins with the two bickering, but ends with the two ready for...well, you know. Indeed sex is not discussed in this movie (it's a good thing too—after all, Jane's dad has a gun), but what is referenced with the blocking of actors and Jane's dialogue is far more erotic. But, let's get to the meat of the matter: Tarzan fighting lions and natives.

Lest you readers think this movie is all about Tarzan and Jane, there's plenty of excitement for all. Without spoiling any of the movie's groundbreaking action scenes, let it be said that all of them work quite effectively in creating jolly fun at the movies. W.S. Van Dyke, better known today for his comedic direction of The Thin Man, strikes just the right notes (especially during the crocodile river scene), using editing to conceal the primitive special effects. Of course, that's what this is all about, right? The script offers no substantial themes about civilization, it's just an excuse for a competent and professional ensemble of craftsman and artists to create great escapist entertainment for audiences to enjoy well after the movie was released. On that level, this movie is a gigantic success.

I: Intro Tarzan the Ape Man Memories II by W. Armstrong
II: Tarzan the Ape Man: Notes ~ Credits ~ Photos
III: Big Little Book Illustrated Summary I
IV: Big Little Book Illustrated Summary II
V. Tarzan, The Ape Man: Film Log Notes & Study Guide
VI. Tarzan the Ape Man Lobby Gallery I
VII. Lobby Gallery II: Tarzan Make Love
VIII. Lobby Gallery III: Tarzan and Jungle Friends
IX: Lobby Gallery IV
X: Lobby Gallery V

ERBzine Silver Screen
Resource Guide to the Movies of ERB

Lad and the Lion Tarzan of the Apes Romance of Tarzan Oakdale Affair Revenge of Tarzan Son of Tarzan
Adventures of Tarzan Tarzan and the Golden Lion Tarzan the Mighty Tarzan the Tiger John Carter of Mars Tarzan the Ape Man
Tarzan the Fearless Tarzan and His Mate New Adv. of Tarzan Tarzan Escapes The Lion Man Drag-Net/Tundra/Santa Fe
Tarzan's Revenge Tarzan Finds A Son! Tarzan's Secret Treasure Jungle Girl Tarzan's NY Adv. Tarzan Triumphs
Tarzan's Desert Mystery Tarzan and the Amazons Tarzan & Leopard Woman Tarzan & Huntress Tarzan & Mermaids Tarzan's Magic Fountain
Tarzan & Slave Girl Tarzan's Peril Tarzan's Savage Fury Tarzan & She Devil Tarzan's Hidden Jungle Tarzan & Lost Safari
Tarzan's Fight For Life Tarzan and the Trappers Tarzan's Greatest Adv. Tarzan the Ape Man Tarzan the Magnificent Tarzan Goes To India
Tarzan's 3 Challenges Tarzan and the Valley of Gold Tarzan & Great River Tarzan & Jungle Boy Land Time Forgot At the Earth's Core
People Time Forgot Tarzan, The Ape Man | I | II Tarzan In Manhattan 2151 Greystoke, Legend 2152 Tarzan: Epic Adventures Tarzan & Lost City
Tarzan of Apes an Disney's Tarzan  an Disney Tarzan & Jane an Disney's Tarzan II an Asylum's Princess of Mars John Carter of Mars
. . Land Time Forgot 2009 . . .
Tarzan On Broadway 1921 | Disney's Tarzan the Broadway Musical | Tarzan the Musical in Holland | Tarzan the Musical in Hamburg
The ERB / Avatar Connection

Colour Adaptations of the MGM Tarzan Films
COOP Chocolate Cards Published in Belgium
1373: Tarzan
The Ape Man
1374: Tarzan 
And His Mate
1375: Tarzan 
1376: Tarzan 
Finds A Son!
1377: Tarzan's
Secret Treasure
1378: Tarzan's 
New York Adventure
1379: Tarzan
1380: Tarzan's
Desert Mystery
1381: Tarzan
and the Amazons
1382: Tarzan and the
Leopard Woman
3142 Tarzan and
the Huntress
3143 Tarzan and 
the Mermaids

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