Director Sidney Scott
Producer Bill Parsons
Story Edgar Rice Burroughs
Adaptation Fred Miller & Lois Weber

Tarzan Elmo Lincoln
Tarzan as a boy Gordon Griffith
Jane Porter Enid Markey
Lord Greystoke True Boardman
Lady Greystoke Kathleen Kirkham
Professor Porter Thomas Jefferson
Binns, a sailor George French
Greystoke's nephew Colin Kenny
Bar Maid Bessie Toner
Captain of the Fuwalda Jack Wilson

• After many unsuccessful attempts to bring his creation to the screen, Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) signed a contract in June 1916 with Bill Parsons, a Chicago life insurance salesman with an ambitious plans to found a film company and sell stock to fund the project.  The venture was eventually successful and Parsons signed Winslow Winston, a stocky new York actor and ukulele player, to portray the ape-man.  Enid Markey was enlisted for the role of Jane and 10-year-old Gordon Griffith was signed to play the young Tarzan.  A film crew was dispatched to Brazil where they used local Indians to portray Africans in an important village burning sequence.  Only days into production Winston, overcome with patriotism, quit the film to enlist in WWI.  His eventual replacement was 28-year-old Elmo Lincoln, a 6 foot, 200 pound, barrel-chested character actor.  Lincoln had appeared in a few silent features under silent film pioneer, D W Griffiths, who had persuaded him to change his name from Otto Linkhelter.  The film opened on 27 January 1918 and was a huge success, becoming one of the first half dozen silent films to gross over a million dollars.  A much-circulated story about Lincoln actually killing a lion on the set appears to be apocryphal.  Enid Markey, who continued to work in film and TV into the 1960s, had no recollection of the event and it is possible that Lincoln concocted the story at a later date when he had fallen on hard times. (Essoe & Taliaferro)

PLOT - Note: Spoiler warning
• Lord and Lady Greystoke set sail for Africa but the ship is hijacked by mutineers and they are abandoned on the west coast of Africa.  They build a cabin for shelter, Alice gives birth to their first child, but eventually both die in the jungle.  Their orphaned son is raised by a female ape named Kala who names her baby Tarzan.  Years later a sailor named Binns meets Tarzan, now a young boy and teaches the savage child to read and write before he returns to England.  Tarzan grows to manhood and uses his father's hunting knife, which he has found in the cabin, to become the King of the Apes.  Binns eventually organises a rescue party to recover the boy he met in the jungle.  The search party, consisting of Professor Porter, his daughter, Jane, and Greystoke's nephew, travel to Africa where Tarzan rescues Jane from a lion attack.  Natives pursue Tarzan and Jane through the jungle but Tarzan burns their village, forcing them to flee.  Tarzan and Jane escape in the mayhem and return to her people where Jane expresses a desire to stay in the jungle with her new love.

Click on the image below to see a short montage of scenes from this film:
Click on the image below to see the entire film on the Filmschatten Tarzan of the Apes page:

Tarzan of the Movies by Gabe Essoe, 1968, The Citadel Press
Tarzan Forever by John Taliaferro, 1999, Simon & Schuster
• Both photos are from Tarzan of the Movies by Gabe Essoe, 1968, The Citadel Press
• The video clip of the montage of scenes from this film was uploaded to Youtube by me specifically to embed in this web page
• Many thanks to the Filmschatten film blog for providing the entire film online.  Incredible!
• Read a review and rating of this film at the At-A-Glance Film Reviews Tarzan of the Apes page
Buy a copy of My Father, Elmo Lincoln, a biography written by his daughter
• Essay: Five Tarzans - The Silent Apemen by Gene Popa
Learn much more about this film at Bill Hillman's comprehensive Tarzan of the Apes page

This film has never been released commercially but you can sometimes bag yourself a copy on DVD from collectors on eBay

TARZAN® is the property of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Tarzana CA.
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Tarzan material is copyright © 2002-2006 Paul Wickham
This page was updated January 2008