Director J P McGowan
Producer Edwin C King
Story Edgar Rice Burroughs
Adaptation William E Wing

Tarzan James Pierce
Esteban Miranda Frederick Peters
Flora Hawkes Edna Murphy
Burton Bradney Harold Goodwin
Lady Greystoke Dorothy Dunbar
Weesimbo (John Gordon) D'Arcy Corrigan
Owaza Boris Karloff
John Peebles Robert Bolder
Tangani High Priest Lui Yu-Ching

• The second longest gap between the production of any two Tarzan films was that between The Adventures of Tarzan (1921) and Tarzan and the Golden Lion.  Keen to see his hero on the screen again, ERB solicited a deal from Film Booking Offices (FBO), which later became RKO studios, to produce a film based on his 1922 novel, Tarzan and the Golden Lion.   ERB also suggested an "actor" to play Tarzan: ex-college footballer James Pierce, who would later marry Ed's daughter, Joan.  The couple would later portrayed Tarzan and Jane in 364 15-minute episodes of the Tarzan radio show in 1932 and 1933.  Pierce was 6 feet 4 inches tall (194 cm), had a trim physique and wavy blonde hair was unquestionably the best looking Tarzan to date.  Veteran actor Boris Karloff had a small role as a villainous native (below far right).  The production, the most elaborate Tarzan feature to date, was filmed between mid-October and mid-December 1926.  J P McGowan, experienced director of cliffhanger serials, was appointed director and the scenario was written by William Wing, who ERB objected to strongly because of his treatment of Tarzan of the Apes (1918). (Fury & Essoe)

PLOT - Note: Spoiler warning
• John Gordon, an explorer, escapes from slavery in the Temple of Diamonds, a remote city in the mountains inhabited by the Tangani.  He finds refuge at Lord Greystoke's African estate, where he is known as Weesimbo, an old friend of Tarzan's.  As he is recounting his strange tale Jane arrives with her niece, Flora Hawkes, who is engaged to the overseer of the Greystoke estate, Burton.  Esteban Miranda, the chief of a band of thieves who bears a resemblance to Tarzan, learns of the diamonds and intrudes into the Greystoke estate while Tarzan is absent and he and his band abduct Gordon and  Flora and Gordon is forced to lead the party to the City of Diamonds.  The evil high priest of the Tangani captures Flora with the intention of sacrificing her to Numa, the lion god of the Tangani.  Tarzan leads a band of his trusty Waziri warriors to rescue her, accompanied by Jad-bal-ja, the golden lion.  Tarzan battles his way into the City of Diamonds and he and Jad-bal-ja arrive just as Flora is about to be sacrificed.  Tarzan fights and kills Numa, while Jad-bal-ja destroys Miranda.  Tarzan leads the party back to his estate where Flora is reunited with Burton.

Click on the image below to see a short montage of scenes from this film:

Tarzan of the Movies by Gabe Essoe, 1968, The Citadel Press
Kings of the Jungle by David Fury, 1994, McFarland Classics
• 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
• Read a surprisingly long James Pierce filmography at the Internet Movie Databse (IMDb)
• Read Edna Murphy's also long filmography at the Internet Movie database (IMDb)
• Read the essay, Five Tarzans - The Silent Apemen by Gene Popa
Learn much more about this film at Bill Hillman's comprehensive Tarzan and the Golden Lion 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 © 2002-2007 Paul Wickham
This page was updated Feburary 2008