Tarzan and His
CREDITS: Internet Movie Data Base
by Cedric Gibbons ~ Jack Conway (uncredited)
Writers: Leon Gordon and Howard Emmett Rogers (adaptation)
~ James Kevin McGuinness
Based on the characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Genre: Action / Adventure
Tagline: Johnny Weismuller is back again!
Johnny Weissmuller ~ Tarzan
Maureen O'Sullivan ~ Jane Parker
Neil Hamilton ~ Harry Holt
Paul Cavanagh ~ Martin Arlington
Forrester Harvey ~ Beamish
Nathan Curry ~ Saidi
Ray Corrigan ~ Double for Weissmuller
Paul Porcasi ~ Monsieur Gironde
Desmond Roberts ~ Van Ness
William Stack ~ Pierce
Yola d'Avril ~ Mme. Feronde
Runtime: USA:105 ~ Black and White ~
In the first sequel to Tarzan, the Ape Man,
Harry Holt returns to Africa to head up a large ivory expedition. This
time he brings his womanizing friend Marlin Arlington. Holt also harbors
ideas about convincing Jane to return to London. When Holt and Arlington
show Jane some of the modern clothes and perfumes they brought from civilization,
she is impressed but not enough to return. Tarzan wrestles every wild animal
imaginable to protect Jane but when he disallows the expedition from plundering
ivory from the elephant burial grounds, it is he who takes a bullet from
Arlington's gun. Jane eventually believes that Tarzan is dead but he is
nursed back to health by the apes. As Jane and the returning expedition
are attacked by violent natives, we wonder if Tarzan can rescue them yet
Summary written by Gary Jackson
PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THE
FILM ~ Bill Hillman
I am glad to see that TCM often feature the first two
Weissmuller/O'Sullivan Tarzan films.
*** I found TARZAN AND HIS MATE to be a pretty tedious
film -- made watchable thanks to the many stunt stand-in actors, clever
photography and animal scenes plus Maureen's interesting costume and on-screen
presence. I'm somewhat baffled that so many who loved this film jumped
on a bandwagon to put down the more recent earnestly-made, multi-multi
million dollar film JOHN CARTER (OF MARS) claiming that it departed too
far from ERB's depictions, while "TARZAN'S MATE" was far from faithful
in so many ways:
... an illiterate acrobatic vine-swinging oafish Tarzan,
weird plot purposely different from anything by ERB (by contract the studio
had to use a plot different from ERB's since they only bought the name
"Tarzan,") a brunette English Jane, chimps instead of manganis (chimps
were not found in ERB's books), elephant burial grounds which included
the grave of Jane's father (Parker), different character names, multi-purpose
overused Tarzan victory cry, mispronouncing of the name "Tarzan", Professor
Porter replaced by Parker, etc.
*** ERB's daughter Joan Burroughs revealed: "Dad found
it hard to reconcile himself to the movie versions of the Tarzan stories,
and never did understand the movie Tarzan. He wanted Tarzan to speak like
an educated Englishman instead of grunting. One time we saw a movie together
and after it was all over, although the audience seemed enthusiastic, my
father remained in his seat and kept shaking his head, sadly."
FILM FACTS AND TRIVIA
The movie was originally budgeted for location shooting in
Africa and a spectacular jungle fire. Both plans were discarded.
ERB was paid $45,000 for the film with option for two more
films. He wanted to see a new Tarzan feature released every year. The final
cost of the film was $1,279,142.
Director Cedric Gibbons began filming on August 2, 1933,
but he was soon replaced by Jack Conway who directed most of the films
footage. Maureen O'Sullivan recalled that much of the actual direction
was carried out by James C. McKay (uncredited as director), who was only
billed as the animal director.
Shooting concluded in March 1934.
After being replaced by Conway, Gibbons returned to art direction
and designed most of the sets used in the Tarzan series. He never directed
Cedric Gibbons went on to design the famous Oscar statuette
for the Academy Awards. He personally won eleven Oscars for his work as
a production designer.
Maureen O’Sullivan was absent for over a month recovering
from an appendectomy.
Betty Roth (wife of animal supervisor Louis Roth) doubled
for O'Sullivan for some close-up lion scenes at the end of filming due
to O'Sullivan's absence for an appendectomy.
According to Jerry Schneider's
Movie Making Locations website, the film was shot at: Big Tujunga,
Forest, MGM backlot, and Pico Rivera
Members of the Codonas and Picchiani acrobatic troupes in
gorilla suits doubled for tree-swinging apes.
Former Olympic swimmer, Josephine McKim doubled for Maureen
O'Sullivan in the swim scenes - including the near-nude underwater scene.
Josephine McKim was member of the 1924 and 1928 U.S. Womens'
Olympic Swim Teams and one of the four U.S. swimmers on that team to win
the 1928 gold medal in the 400-Meter Freestyle Relay.
Thanks to the Hays censorship office, the brief costumes
worn by the stars in this film were replaced by much less revealing
outfits in the Tarzan films that followed. The two-piece Jane costume was
subsequently replaced by a long one-piece costume in all the sequels due
to pressure from the Hays Office as they felt it was too revealing.
Betty Roth, wife of lion owner Louis Roth, doubled for O'Sullivan
in the close contact scenes with the lions, mostly for the close-up lion
scenes at the end of filming due to O'Sullivan's absence for an appendectomy.
In the scene where dummy natives fell out of the trees to
be eaten by lions, the lions actually were chewing meat attached to stakes
driven into the ground.
The lions Margie and Pasha owned by Bert Nelson were used
in many featured lion scenes.
Chimps Yama and Jiggs played Cheta.
The rhino, Mary, was imported from Germany by trainer George
Emerson who did most of the riding. Most of Weissmuller's riding shots
were on a dummy.
Tarzan rides a rhinoceros in one scene – a first for film.
The rhino, Mary, was imported from the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany.
Weismuller did some of the scene himself, sustaining only minor scrapes
to sensitive places from Mary’s rough hide, but most of his riding shots
were done on a dummy. Trainer George Emerson who did most of the actual
The many action sequences with animals were achieve through
a combination of using trained animals, travelling matte shots, dummies
Most of the elephants in the film were of the Indian variety
with pasted on ears to make them appear to African. MGM already owned several
Indian elephants and considered them easier to handle.
The melody “My Tender One,” (written by Dr. William Axt for
the film Eskimo) was used in this, and the next three films.
The film was a huge worldwide success but was banned in Germany
by Hitler's Nazi party.
English actor, Paul Cavanagh, who played Martin, returned
to work with Johnny Weissmuller as Commissioner Morrison in the Jungle
Jim TV series.
The ending in the Whitman Big Little Book version of Tarzan
and His Mate is quite different from that of the film. In the book,
Holt dies taking a spear meant for Jane, and Martin is killed by an elephant
as he tries to shoot Tarzan.
The film's more erotic scenes were removed by order of film
censors. Most of these missing scenes have recently been restored for modern
For the infamous swimming scene in this pre-code film, alternate
footage was shot of Jane in various stages of dress, ranging from totally
nude to fully covered. According to film historian Rudy Behlmer: “From
all evidence, three versions of the sequence eventually went out to separate
territories during the film’s initial release. One with Jane clothed in
her jungle loin cloth outfit, one with her topless, and one with her in
the nude.” Maureen O’Sullivan did not play the naked Jane in the alternate
footage; she was doubled by Olympic swimmer Josephine McKim, who competed
in the 1928 games with Johnny Weissmuller. A version with alternate footage
with Jane swimming nude or topless was restored in 1986 by Turner Entertainment
for its video release.
After seeing the film's famous underwater nude scene in August
1933, ERB wrote to son Hulbert: "It is a very beautiful and artistic shot.
Their movements under water are naturally slow and extremely graceful.
I saw nothing objectionable in it . . . it may get by the censors and it
Around the time that Tarzan and His Mate was released,
Jimmy Durante played Schnarzan, a spoof of the Tarzan character, in MGM's
Party. Coincidentally the female star of the movie was Lupe Velez,
future wife of Johnny Weissmuller.
In 2003, the United States Library of Congress deemed the
film “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and selected
it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
SCHNARZAN THE GREAT
A Tarzan Spoof with Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante as Schnarzan
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.