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Issue 0622

Working Title: Tarzan Against the World
Starring Johnny Weissmuller ~ No. 6
MGM 1942

Tarzan's New York Adventures is one of the most popular and amusing entries in the MGM series Tarzan series. It features a large, excellent supporting cast. the production values are top notch and the direction by Richard Thorpe is polished and fast paced. Weissmuller's character is starting to be more filled out, versatile, appealing and believable. On the basis of these MGM entries Weissmuller is still regarded as the definitive Tarzan by many. In addition to its famous leads, the supporting cast sported an abundance of talent: popular child actor, Johnny Sheffield as Boy, Charles Bickford as the villainous Buck Rand, beautiful Virginia Grey as the nightclub singer, and veteran character actor Chill Wills as Boy's confidante at the circus. Even though Cheetah's antics are perhaps overdone, they are  more entertaining and less annoying than in many of the films in the series. The jungle scenes on the MGM backlot were convincing and the location work in New York did good job of showing off the city's most famous sites.

Johnny Weissmuller:  Tarzan
Maureen O'Sullivan: Jane
Johnny Sheffield: Boy
Virginia Grey: Connie Beach
Charles Bickford: Buck Rand, Circus Owner
Paul Kelly: Jimmie Shields, Pilot
Chill Wills: Manchester Montford
Cy Kendall: Col. Ralph Sergeant
Russell Hicks: Judge Abbotson
Howard C. Hickman: Blake Norton, Tarzan's Lawyer
Charles Lane: Gould Beaton, Sargent's Lawyer
Miles Mander: Portmaster
Matthew Boulton:  Portmaster (scenes deleted)
Wade Boteler: First Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Bill Cartledge: Messenger with Cablegram (uncredited)
Hobart Cavanaugh: Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler: Bailiff (uncredited)
Ken Christy: Second Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Inez Cooper: Young Woman (uncredited)
Marjorie Deanne: Cigarette Girl (uncredited)
Dudley Dickerson: Porter (uncredited)
John Dilson: Court Clerk (uncredited)
William Forrest: Inspector at Airport (uncredited)
Willie Fung: Sun Lee, the Chinese Tailor (uncredited)
Anne Jeffreys: Young Woman (uncredited)
Darby Jones: Swahili Chief (uncredited)
Eddie Kane: Eddie, the Headwaiter (uncredited)
Milton Kibbee: Hotel Doorman (uncredited)
Paul Kruger: Circus Roustabout (uncredited)
Eddie Lee:  Sun Lee's Assistant (uncredited)
James B. Leong: Sun Lee's Measuring Assistant (uncredited)
Elmo Lincoln: Circus Roustabout (uncredited)
George Magrill: Circus Roustabout (uncredited)
Frank Marlowe: Second Cab Driver (uncredited)
Patrick McVey: Policeman (uncredited)
Harry Monty: (uncredited)
Mantan Moreland: Sam, the Nightclub Janitor (uncredited)
Dorothy Morris: Hat Check Girl (uncredited)
Philip Morris: Bailiff (uncredited)
George Offerman: Bellboy (uncredited)
Ted Oliver: Policeman in Patrol Car (uncredited)
Harry Semels: Circus Roustabout (uncredited)
William Tannen: Mike, an Airport Clerk (uncredited)
Harry Tenbrook: Circus Roustabout Driving Car (uncredited)
Natalie Thompson:  Telephone Operator (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan: Policeman Telephoning (uncredited)
Jasper Weldon: Janitor (uncredited)
Dick Wessel: First Cab Driver (uncredited)
Florence Wright: Young Woman (uncredited)
Victor Zimmerman: Policeman (uncredited)
Wade Boteler: First Police Sergeant
Matthew Boulton: Portmaster
Bill Cartledge: Messenger with Cablegram
Hobart Cavanaugh: Hotel Desk Clerk
Eddy Chandler: Bailiff
Ken Christy: Second Police Sergeant
Anne Jeffreys: Young Woman
Dorothy Morris: Hat Check Girl
Inez Cooper: Young Woman
Marjorie Deanne: Cigarette Girl
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Writing credits: Edgar Rice Burroughs (characters) ~
Myles Connolly (also story) ~ Gordon Kahn ~ William R. Lipma
Producer: Frederick Stephani
Original Music by David Snell and Sol Levy
Cinematography by Sidney Wagner
Film Editing by Gene Ruggiero
Art Direction by Cedric Gibbons
Set Decoration by Edwin B. Willis
Costume Design by Howard Shoup (gowns) (as Shoup)
Production Management: Art Smith unit manager 
Second Unit Director: Dolph Zimmer assistant director
Art Department: Howard Campbell associate art director
Sound Department: Douglas Shearer recording director
Special Effects by A. Arnold Gillespie special effects 
Warren Newcombe special effects
Stunts: Paul Stader
Other crew: Vera Van singing voice: Virgina Bruce
George Emerson:  nimal trainer (uncredited)
 Runtime: 71 min ~ B & W ~ USA ~ Mono
  • This was the final and shortest entry in the MGM Tarzan series.
  • Shooting started on the film only a month after Tarzan's Secret Treasure was completed. It was shot in six weeks at a cost of $700,000
  • Wakulla Springs, Florida, served as the movie's Dark Africa setting, with some exterior scenes minus the cast being shot in New York City. 
  • This was the first film shown free to servicemen overseas. A 16 mm copy was sent to Iceland and shown 10 May 1942.
  • Elmo Lincoln the first movie Tarzan, makes an uncredited cameo appearance as a circus roustabout.
  • In this movie, Tarzan jumps 250 feet from the Brooklyn Bridge. Although many claim that Johnny Weismuller actually did the jump, it was actually a dummy plunging into a tank filmed by cameraman Jack Smith on top of the MGM scenic tower on lot 3.
  • Music Soundtrack: "I'm Through With Love" ~ Music by Matty Malneck and Fud Livingston ~ Lyrics by Gus Kahn ~ Played by the orchestra at Club Moonbeam ~ Sung by Virginia Grey (dubbed by Vera Van)
  • The song performed in the nightclub is also sung by Mary Jane Watson in Spider-man 3.
  • Music Soundtrack: "Dance of the Hours" from the opera "La Gioconda" ~ Written by Amilcare Ponchielli ~ Played by the orchestra at Club Moonbeam 
  • Maureen O'Sullivan's last appearance as Jane and MGM's last effort before the series moved over to RKO with Johnny Weissmuller
  • MGM rented the entire Hagenback-Wallace circus and set it upon their back lot
  • Some of the appeal of the movie comes from watching the jungle man adapt to the ways of civilization: "Woman sick! Scream for witch doctor!" Tarzan proclaims after hearing an opera singer on the radio. His assessment of the smoke-filled Club Moonbeam is humorous: "Smell like a Swahili swamp. Why people stay?"
  • Many fans, including ERB's grandson, and ERB, Inc.director consider this to be one of their favourites of all the Tarzan films
  • The flying boat that took Tarzan and Jane to New York is similar to the one flown in by ERB and wife Florence on one of their early visits to Hawaii.
  • The airplane, bearing the British registration of G-AECT, is the same plane that was "destroyed" in a crash in the film, Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939). Unlike an airplane such as the Dakota, which has a cargo door, this plane has no such door, which means the lion cages wouldn't fit, and even if it did, there is simply no room on such a small plane for more than one cage.
  • The vehicle in which Charles Bickford tries to escape a herd of angry circus elephants is a 1937 Cadillac Series 60 convertible coupe, which was all but demolished while filming the sequence.
  • The circus scenes in this film "recycle" sets from the Marx Brothers vehicle A Day at the Races (1937).
  • Appearing just before the 2 minute mark, "Tarzan's New York Adventure" contains earliest appearance of Tarzan in the 6 original MGM films.
  • As with other Tarzan films, there is much recycled footage from earlier movies. Among other content, this includes the two shots of the escarpment, the plane sequence at the start, the running wildebeest and giraffe, the chimps in the trees - all of which was directly lifted from Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939). The sequence of Tarzan running up a tall, tilted tree has also been seen before, as was the high dive from the tree and synchronized swim.
  • This is the only Weissmuller Tarzan film in which you can see adult Indian elephants without false African ears.
  • The sequence where Tarzan scales the side of a skyscraper and escapes across the rooftops of Manhattan is reminiscent of both Harold Lloyd's silent classic Safety Last and the original 1933 version of King Kong.
  • The chief inspiration for "Crocodile Dundee"(1986).

Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller), Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan), and Boy (Johnny Sheffield) are enjoying a swim their jungle paradise when then see an airplane landing on their isolated escarpment. It has brought a group of trappers who plan to capture wild animals for their travelling circus back in the States. Buck Rand (Charles Bickford) the lion hunter aims his rifle at Tarzan who breaks the gun and orders them to leave the next morning. They take advantage of the time to trap lions and other animals. Boy, fascinated by the visitors and their aircraft, shows up at the plane with his elephants and impresses the hunters with his rapport with animals. Realizing that this wild boy of the jungle could make them a fortune back in America, Buck offers Boy a ride, but pilot Jimmie Shields (Paul Kelly) warns the boy to leave. Boy returns to distract a lion to save Manchester Montford (Chill Wills) who has become caught in a net. Buck shoots the lion, hostile natives attack, Boy calls Tarzan but Tarzan and Jane accidentally fall while swinging in on vines. While Tarzan and Jane lie unconscious, the natives start a fire,  Buck and the party escape with Boy on the plane. Cheetah rescues Tarzan and Jane from the fire by dropping them a vine. Boy's parents and Cheetah immediately start overland to the coast where they use gold to buy civilized clothes from a Chinese tailor and to book passage on a flying boat mail flight to New York to rescue their son.

Upon reaching New York they take a taxi to a hotel. There are many comedy scenes as Tarzan and Cheetah try to adjust to all the complexities of civilization. Tarzan hears what he believes are native war dances and a woman screaming for a witch doctor on the musical programs on the cab driver's radio. Tarzan showers in his suit, Cheetah eats makeup, and cause major disruption in the classy hotel. Jane and Tarzan go to a club to find Jimmie and meet the club's singer, Jimmie's girlfriend, Connie Beach (Virginia Grey), who fills them in on Buck's circus. Meanwhile,  Col. Sergeant (Cy Kendall) and Buck get a $100,000 offer for Boy from Brazil.  Tarzan and Jane arrive at the circus and a custody battle for their son begins. Tarzan is out of step with the conventions and laws of modern man and when things don't go well in court he escapes through a window to climb skyscrapers and  swing through the "stone jungle" in search of Boy. Trying to get to the circus on Long Island he takes a taxi that is stopped by the police on Brooklyn Bridge from which he makes a 250 foot dive into the river. At the circus Manchester is shot while trying to stop Buck and Sergeant. Boy climbs up to the big top trapezebut Tarzan is caught in a net trying to reach him. He is locked in an animal cage. The elephants come to the rescue -- again -- they free Tarzan and trap Buck and Sergeant who are trying to take Boy away  in a car. Tarzan rescues Boy and the villains' car crashes. Back in court, Judge Abbotson (Russell Hicks) sides with Tarzan and even plans to visit them in Africa on a fishing trip. The final scene shows Tarzan, Jane, and Boy cavorting in the water back at their jungle home while Cheetah directs the elephants through tricks with the judge's courtroom mallet.

From Turner Classic Movies
Big shiny metal bird fall from sky, bring white devils to piss off Tarzan. After Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) helpfully educates Boy (Johnny Sheffield) with the charming thought that all outsiders are bad (only white ones ever show up, but I would imagine any race would be unwelcome to this clannish lot)...some bad outsiders show up: animal trapper Buck Rand (Charles Bickford), kindly pilot Jimmie Shields (Paul Kelly), and aw shucks circus wrangler Manchester Montford (Chill Wills). Their purpose on the escarpment? Capture lions for Colonel Sergeant's (Cy Kendall) circus back in New York City. But hold on a second: those lions are Tarzan's (Johnny Weissmuller), and he tells the white "vultures" to high-tail their asses on out of there before morning. However, the arrogant Rand isn't going to let Tarzan tell him what to do...especially when Rand wants to snatch elephant-trainer Boy and sell him to a circus. Thankfully, a tribe of Jaconi head hunters happen by (how come Tarzan doesn't say all head hunter outsiders aren't welcome?) and they snatch the whole group. Tarzan and Jane try to come to Boy's rescue, but their grape vine is hacked off in mid-swing (and mid-Tarzan yell, amusingly), and they fall, presumably, to their deaths...or at least that's what Rand hopes. He hops back on the plane with Boy, and they're off to New York, with Tarzan and Jane in fast pursuit. Once there, Tarzan, Jane, and of course, Cheetah, navigate the wilds of the Big Apple, with Tarzan in particular an amusingly large fish out of water.

A particular childhood favorite Tarzan because it's designed as much to be a comedy as an action adventure, Tarzan's New York Adventure was always a good switch-up on the Sunday morning Tarzan Theatre out of Detroit when I was growing up. Running a scant, fast 71 minutes, Tarzan's New York Adventure resembles nothing more than a comic book brought to life, with Big John Weissmuller looking like hell in a few rather startling insert shots (I always wondered if Louis B. Mayer saw the rushes for one of those scenes and decided then and there, "That's it?86 the jungle boy."). Tarzan is his usual imperious self here (I love Bickford quite rightly saying, "Where'd you get the idea you run Africa?"), until he goes all soft in the city, bowing to Jane's superior social skills ("Jane be boss here," he paternalistically allows at the hotel desk). Once he figures out the "law" ain't so good when it comes to custody suits and specifically, the chiseling lawyers who peddle them, he appropriately flips out, tossing the offending Charles Lane into the jury box before he crashes out onto the concrete jungle in a terrific action sequence where Tarzan scampers around the New York skyline.

Every couple of minutes there's a good comedy bit, such as the (unintentionally) amusing scene where Jane worries about Tarzan's, um..."strength" being sapped by the big city (she really is a tramp, isn't she?), or the racial humor of both Willie Fung as a frustrated Chinese tailor and paralyzingly funny Mantan Moreland, giving it to a crank-calling Cheetah, with the film's funniest line, "You ain't getting' fresh with me is you colored boy?" (if the lack of political correctness in these scenes makes you nervous, just remember it was jittery P.C.-conscious producers who put the brilliant Moreland out of work in the 1950s and 60s). Weissmuller yodeling in the shower (perfect sound editing there) and bouncing around the taxi cab are funny moments, but nothing tops Cheetah in probably her/his best bit of the series, where she destroys Jane's packed-away things in her hotel room. When Cheetah executes perhaps the funniest double-take I've ever seen?humans included?(when she sees herself in the vanity mirror), all minor sins of Tarzan's New York Adventure are forgiven, as indeed they are again during the fantastic finale, where director Richard Thorpe choreographs and frames the elephants blocking Bickford's car's path like giant toys in some monstrous child's playroom. Speedy comic-book fun.

The New York Times  (42.08.07)
With an African yodel and a tailor-made suit, our old jungle friend is back in "Tarzan's New York Adventure," currently chilling the veins of reviewers and twelve-year-olds at the Capitol. Although we're not quite certain that the small-fry approved of Tarzan's temporary conversion to decidedly dapper duds of the sort more commonly seen at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, he probably will be forgiven. . . . Although dressed in a well-draped double-breasted suit, Tarzan continues to behave as if he still wore nothing more substantial than a breech clout. He swings across the dizzy canyons of Manhattan via flagpole riggings, leaps form Brooklyn Bridge and even walks into a shower fully clothed and exclaims: "Rain, rain feel good!" Tarzan is still Tarzan. Naturally it would require a stout reason to bring Tarzan from his comfortable jungle to the civilized wilderness of New York. But when a circus owner steals Tarzan Jr. and brings him to America as a performer, no brakes can hold back the irate parents. What with one thing and another they create a minor sensation in the big town. Cheta, the chimpanzee who well-nigh steals the picture, runs amok in a swank hotel boudoir, shakes hands with astonished clerks, babbles over telephones and even makes wise-cracks nearly as intelligible as Tarzan's. Tarzan himself is frightened by jitterbug "war dances" over the radio, finds that a nightclub "smells like a Swahili swamp," but accepts taxi drivers as trail finders. When the law moves too slowly in regaining his lost offspring, Tarzan reverts to type. With a war whoop that rings across the city and with the cooperation of the circus animals, he gets the boy by more direct means. It is all very juvenile and not infrequently exciting. And the contrast between Johnny Weissmuller's jungle brogue and his son's private school diction is hilariously amusing in an unintentional way. Maureen O'Sullivan continues to act as a model of jungle deportment. Not so Cheta. More than anyone, the monk turns the Tarzan's excursion into a rambunctious simian romp.


Like others of its series, this is in the groove for the juves and holds little for adults. Maybe even less this time, considering the extraordinary amount of footage the director gave and the cutter permitted to remain to the antics of the trained chimp. Kids can take this kind of stuff in large dosages, but adults will squirm after the first fifty feet. In all round merit, however, this "Tarzan" qualifies for its established market. Seventy minutes of jungle hoss opry is interspliced with Mr. and Mrs. Tarzans' adventures in New York regaining their adopted son, carried off by an unscrupulous hunter who figured he could clean up with the kid in a circus. Charles Bickford plays that menace and Cy Kendall is his sidekick, as owner of a one-ring show. Chill Wills and Paul Kelly are involved with them, but they go to the aid of the jungle parents when the latter pull the rescue in the Metropolis. All the situations are trite, even including Tarzan's 200-foot dive off the Brooklyn bridge to escape some cops who just don't understand the jungle-man. In the end, of course, everything works out right for the Tarzan family and back they go to dear old darkest Africa. There's all the usual swinging-from-the-trees and animal stuff, and the photography and direction are standard. Performances ditto, with Johnny Weissmuller not improving as an actor, but pretty Maureen O'Sullivan, as his missus, and John Sheffield, as the junior Tarzan, compensate for him to a great extent. Both are good troupers. Bickford and Kendall are okay as the menaces, while Paul Kelly and Chill Wills will draw sympathy for their more kindly actions. The rest of the cast is not importantly concerned, though Russell Hicks, as a judge, Howard Hickman and Charles Lane as lawyers, turn in nice bits.



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Colour Adaptations of the
MGM Tarzan Films
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
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1380: Tarzan's
Desert Mystery
1381: Tarzan
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1382: Tarzan and the
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Volume 0622

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