Tarzan and His Mate (1934)

Article #411 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 4-30-2002
Posting date: 9-23-2002

Ivory hunters try to find the elephants’ graveyard so they can make a fortune off of the tusks, but run into resistance from Tarzan, despite the fact that one of them is an old boyfriend of Jane’s.

If you’ve ever wondered why the Hays office came into being, this movie provides one of the examples of just how much sex and violence Hollywood was putting into their product at the time. This, like the first Tarzan movie, has quite a bit of savage violence, and it’s pretty hard at times to watch the scenes involving wounded and hurt animals; I hope they were just well-trained actors, but this was long before the days when animals were given any protection in the making of movies. Also, Maureen O’Sullivan flashes an amazing amount of skin here; though her nude swim was performed by a double, her regular costume leaves very little to the imagination. I actually wonder how she survives in the jungle; it seems like she gets attacked by a wild animal every ten minutes or so; for that matter, Cheetah has a couple of scenes where he’s at risk, too, not to mention losing his mother in a somewhat shocking scene.

Of course, there’s still the question as to whether the Tarzan movies belong to this series, but since the book I’m using as a source includes them, so will I; it’s certainly more genre than NIGHT UNTO NIGHT, for example. Yes, they’re less fantasies than exotic adventure stories, but I’ve heard it said that Africa bears little real resemblance to the one seen in these movies, so fantasy may be an appropriate category; at any rate, there’s so many Tarzan movies out there that it’s bound to add several more entries to the Musings.

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