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First Tarzan film with Weissmuller and O'Sullivan

  • Mar 21, 2011
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This 1932 classic is the first film about Tarzan that starred Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan. It was Maureen O'Sullivan's first movie. She received fourth billing, although today she has second billing on any ad about the film. Weissmuller starred in six Tarzan films with her and later with other actresses until the studio felt it wanted a younger star to play Tarzan. He never played in any non-Tarzan film. While O'Sullivan starred in dozens of movies, she is best known for her role as Jane. Contrary to what some people imagine, Tarzan and Jane never married in the Weissmuller-O'Sullivan Tarzan movies.

The film is somewhat grainy. The acting is a bit heavy handed, as it is in most 1930 films. When the white actors are shown in the same scene with African tribe people and when Jane runs from an animal, it appears that they are standing in front of a movie screen. Nevertheless, the film is very interesting.

The story focuses on hunters searching for the elephants' burial ground, so that they can sell the ivory for millions, and on the pampered daughter of one of the hunters, who needs more than soap and water to wash her face, who traveled 6,000 mile to Africa to join her father, who brought six enormous suitcases with clothes with her, who wants to participate in the search for the ivory, and her relationship in the wild jungle with the ape man who only mimics some words she says and only understands the words "Jane" and "Tarzan." She undergoes several adventures with Tarzan, the final one is when she and the hunters are captured by dwarfs who want to kill them by throwing them into a pit containing a huge gorilla.

It is interesting to see and hear Tarzan use his famous Tarzan yell in dangerous situations. However, it is puzzling how any animals can distinguish what seems to be a single cry to mean, at different times, "stop attacking the hunters," "I need help," "here I am," and "come carry me."
First Tarzan film with Weissmuller and O'Sullivan First Tarzan film with Weissmuller and O'Sullivan First Tarzan film with Weissmuller and O'Sullivan First Tarzan film with Weissmuller and O'Sullivan

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About the reviewer
Israel Drazin ()
Ranked #65
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of twenty books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four … more
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