05 October 2011

TARZAN AND HIS MATE/1934/JOHNNY WEISSMULLER

TARZAN AND HIS MATE

1934/Director: Cedric Gibbons / Screenplay: Edgar Rice Burroughs (books),Leon Gordon

Cast: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Neil Hamilton, Paul Cavanagh, Forrester Harvey, Nathan Curry

Tarzan and his Mate was the second Tarzan movie from MGM and it surpasses the original by far. It is considered by many Tarzan fans to the best Tarzan movie of all time, hands down. While Weissmuller still plays a simple minded Tarzan there can be no denying the sexual energy between him and Maureen O’ Sullivan. O’ Sullivan appears so scantily clad it is exhilarating for any time in history, much less 1934 The DVD the deleted nude under footage of Jane swimming with Tarzan. It is not, unfortunately, really Maureen O’Sullivan. She does flash her breasts as she emerges from the water and the nude silhouette undressing in a tent scene. Her costume was so skimpy and revealing it prompted the creation of the Hayes Office, a censorship committee that soon had influence over the entire industry.

The jungle scenes are more elaborate and the action is directed better by the more visionary Cedric Gibbons (though an uncredited Jack Conway is also given credit for completing much of the film) though there were conflicts and in early films two other directors were listed at different times. Some people claim that James McKay actually directed the bulk of the film but on the new DVD version Gibbons is the credited director. It was his first directing job, as he was MGM’s brilliant art director prior to this film. To be honest, along with the blatant sexuality of the film there is a rather strong violent aspect to the movie as well and the next two movies were toned down in both areas considerably. There was not much being done in 1934 that was like this one. The bad bawana is played creepily by Paul Cavanagh. He is looks down on the savage Tarzan as no more than a real ape and spies on Jane as she undresses in her tent. The action involves a return to Africa by good bawana (although in the 1st film I did not think he was so good really) Harry Holt, played again by Neil Hamilton. The "natives" are stereotyped to the point of  uncomfortable comedy and makes for many unintentional laughs. Most definitely a great movie with lots of history behind it. Check it out if you like ape men and jungle girls,  and who the heck doesn't?

NOTE: This post and my post for Tarzan the Apeman were salvaged from old drafts and most of the finished text was lost. These Tarzan posts were not the only casualties and I am not sure what happened except that many Word Docs I had saved were simply blank. Expect rewrites and original screen captures for both posts at some time in the future. For now please make due with the two posts I have put up here and a choice selection of images from the net. 


I realize that many of these images are not from Tarzan and His Mate and will eventually get up some original screen captures as I said above. The more "covered" Jane are from later Tarzan films while the ones where she is showing lots of curvy skin is from this film.

 

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