Son of Tarzan (1920)

SON OF TARZAN (1920)
(Serial)
Article #1102 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Day: 3-21-2004
Posting Day: 8-18-2004
Directed by Arthur J. Flaven and Harry Revier
Featuring P. Dempsey Tabler, Karla Schramm, Gordon Griffith

Tarzan and Jane decide to keep their son from inheriting the jungle spirit of Tarzan, but the call of the jungle becomes too strong when their son meets an ape friend of Tarzan’s and is kidnapped by one of Tarzan’s old enemies.

If you think about it, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan tales would make ideal serials with minimal changes to the stories. Since they’re packed with incidents and cliffhangers, you could just follow it closely and not have to worry about finding a cliffhanger moment; there’s going to be one handy. Nonetheless, I have to say that none of the Tarzan movies or serials I’ve seen up to this point have really given me the same feel as one of the novels, which I remember having read many years ago. This one is the exception, and I’ve had confirmation that it does indeed follow the Tarzan novel of the same name very closely. This makes it somewhat more interesting than your usual Tarzan serial; in particular, I like the fact that rather than a single enemy to pit against Tarzan and his son, at least three enemies are present, and they are apt to fight amongst themselves as they are to fight Korak and Tarzan. This makes for a greater variety of situations. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to judge the serial, as the only extant print is a mess; it’s hard to tell if the jumpy and confusing scenes are the result of print damage or just plain bad editing. Nonetheless, I would recommend that Tarzan enthusiasts hunt this one up, as it’s quite interesting to see a faithful adaptation of a Tarzan tale.

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