Tarzan Escapes (1936)

Article #412 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 5-1-2002
Posting date: 9-24-2002

A hunter agrees to join a safari to find Tarzan because he hopes to capture him and put him on display.

The follow-up to TARZAN AND HIS MATE was made after the Hays office came into effect, and the changes are noticeable; Maureen O’Sullivan’s costume is much more modest this time around, and the brutal violence is toned down considerably from the previous outing. Still, I suspect there was a real chemistry between O’Sullivan and Johnny Weissmueller; their scenes together are as playful as ever, and they do look like they’re having a lot of fun. There is still some savagery, but a lot of it has been replaced by cuteness; the treehouse is one example, the mugging of comic relief Herbert Mundin is another. It’s still quite entertaining, though, with some particularly nice scenes involving Tarzan’s escape from a metal cage with the help of Cheetah and a pair of elephants, and a trek through a sulfurous cave that brings the movie a little closer to the horror genre than other movies of the series. There’s also a good performance from Darby Jones, who would later become known for playing Carre-Four in I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.

Incidentally, this is the Tarzan movie that turned the word “Oongawa” into the all-purpose Tarzan word.

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