Director Cedric Gibbons
Co-directors (uncredited) Jack Conway & James Mckay
Producer Bernard H Hyman
Executive Producer Irving Thalberg
Screenplay James Kevin McGuiness
Adaptation Leon Gordon & Howard E Rogers

Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller
Jane Parker Maureen O'Sullivan
Harry Holt Neil Hamilton
Martin Arlington Paul Cavanagh
Beamish Forrester Harvey
Saidi Nathan Curry
Tom Pierce William Stack
Henry Van Ness Desmond Roberts
Cheta Yama & Jiggs

• Following the success of Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) Edgar Rice Burroughs began negotiations with MGM in March 1932 for future films based on his popular character.  A contract to produce a second Tarzan film, with options for another two, was signed the following May.  It is ironic that the film considered by many fans of jungle movies, including myself, to be the all-time best Tarzan picture, had such a turbulent history.  Cedric Gibbons, MGM's top art director, who had worked on the first Weissmuller film, was given an opportunity to direct and production began in August 1933.  Problems soon developed, however.  Filming was suspended several times, the actor playing the role of Martin Arlington, the main antagonist, was changed and the roles of Pierce and Vanness, lesser antagonists, were also changed.  "Gibby" had shot a lot of excess footage, his duties as both director and art director were burdensome, and costs were spiraling.  He was eventually demoted back to art director and was replaced by Jack Conway as dialogue director and James McKay, who directed most of the film.  No one has yet been able to satisfactorily answer the reason for the substitutions of the actors.  Filming concluded in March 1934, with the final production costs said to be almost $1.3 million. Problems persisted after the release because of the censors concerns about a nude swimming scene involving Jane, and three difference versions were screened at US theatres (see link below) (Essoe, Fury & St Andrews).  Read the fascinating full story at Geoff St Andrews' Tarzan and His Mate page.

• To hear the ape cry used by Tarzan in this film click on the image at right
• To hear the ape cry used by Jane in this film click on the image at right

PLOT - Note: Spoiler warning
• This film acts as a seamless continuation of the first MGM Tarzan film with Harry Holt returning to the Mutia Escarpment a year later to win back Jane and to attempt to remove some of that abundant ivory from the Elephant's Burial Ground.  Holt and his partner, Arlington, a wealthy womaniser, seek help from Tarzan and Jane, who has adapted to a primitive life in the jungle.  Holt attempts to persuade Jane that she is missing the comforts of civilised life and Arlington finds he is attracted to Jane's primitive sensuality.  Arlington shoots Tarzan when he obstructs their plans to desecrate the resting place of the elephants.  Jane, believing that Tarzan was killed by a crocodile, agrees to return to civilisation, but on route the safari are attacked by the savage Men-Who-Eat-Lions, and many are killed, including Holt and Arlington.  Tarzan, who has been nursed back to health by his ape family, rallies an army of apes and elephants to rescue Jane, who has bravely fought off several lions single-handedly.   Tarzan, Jane and the elephants return the ivory to it's rightful location and harmony is once again restored to their jungle home.

Click on the image below to view the trailer for this film:
Below are links to two scenes from this film available on Youtube:
• Click HERE to see the famous underwater nude swimming scene
• Click HERE to see the exciting climax of this film

Click on the image below to view more photos from this significant film:

Tarzan of the Movies by Gabe Essoe, 1968, The Citadel Press
Kings Of The Jungle by David Fury, 1994, McFarland Classics
Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984) web site, by Geoff St Andrews
• The poster was pilfered from an eBay auction item
• Both photos were kindly donated by Geoff St Andrews. Thanks a million, Geoff!
• The video of the trailer was uploaded to Youtube by me specifically to embed in this web page
• The two Youtube videos of scenes from this film were provided by Youtuber CapnFlix.  Many thanks!
• Read a review and rating of this film at At-A-Glance Film Reviews
• Read about Weissmuller's film career at the Johnny Weissmuller page of Brian Walker's Brian's Drive-In Theater site
• IMDb's (Internet Movie Database) Maureen O'Sullivan filmography
• Bag yourself a copy of this film on DVD at Amazon.com or eBay - it is part of the The Tarzan Collection, Vol. 1

TARZAN® is the property of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Tarzana CA.
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Tarzan material is copyright © 2002-2008 Paul Wickham
This page was updated March 2008