Sunday, June 03, 2007

Overlooked Movies: Tarzan and His Mate

"Burroughs was a nice guy," she recalled. "He asked me if I had read any Tarzan books, and I had to say no. I had barely heard of Tarzan. He sent me a copy of every one of his books...He thought Johnny and I were the perfect Tarzan and Jane, which is lovely." ~Maureen O'Sullivan on meeting Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs

In the first sequel to Tarzan, the Ape Man, Harry Holt returns to Africa to head up a large ivory expedition. This time he brings his womanizing friend Marlin Arlington. Holt also harbors ideas about convincing Jane to return to London. When Holt and Arlington show Jane some of the modern clothes and perfumes they brought from civilization, she is impressed but not enough to return. Tarzan wrestles every wild animal imaginable to protect Jane but when he disallows the expedition from plundering ivory from the elephant burial grounds, it is he who takes a bullet from Arlington's gun. Jane eventually believes that Tarzan is dead but he is nursed back to health by the apes. As Jane and the returning expedition are attacked by violent natives, we wonder if Tarzan can rescue them yet again.

Click here to watch an exciting scene from the movie...with lions!

Johnny Weismuller is back again!

Fun Trivia:
The "African" elephants were actually Indian elephants fitted with prosthetic tusks and ears, as MGM already owned several Indian elephants and considered them easier to handle.

Cedric Gibbons was replaced as director due to other duties as the head of MGM's art department (Cedric Gibbons went on to design the famous Oscar statuette for the Academy Awards and would personally win eleven Oscars for his work as a production designer). He was officially replaced by Jack Conway. Maureen O'Sullivan recalled that the actual direction was carried out by James C. McKay (uncredited as director), who was only billed as the animal director. Betty Roth (wife of animal supervisor Louis Roth) doubled for O'Sullivan for some close-up lion scenes at the end of filming due to O'Sullivan's absence for an appendectomy.

The infamous nude swimming scene was originally filmed in three versions: with Jane fully nude, topless, and in full costume. All versions were eventually removed due to protests from conservative religious groups. The nude version was discovered in the vaults of Turner Entertainment during the late 1990s, and was restored to most subsequent versions of the film. In the restored version, Tarzan is depicted in his traditional loincloth while Jane appears fully nude, her costume having been torn off by a tree limb when Tarzan playfully tosses her from the tree to the water below. The scene as it exists today is approximately four minutes in duration.

Click here to watch the famous nude swimming scene:

Maureen O'Sullivan does not appear as Jane during the nude swimming scene; she is instead doubled by Josephine McKim, a member of the 1924 and 1928 U.S. Womens' Olympic Swim Teams and one of the four U.S. swimmers on that team to win the 1928 gold medal in the 400-Meter Freestyle Relay.

O'Sullivan was also doubled in her close contact scenes with the lions by Betty Roth, wife of lion's owner Louis Roth.

Two chimps shared duty in playing the role of Cheta, Yama and Jiggs.

The film was a huge worldwide success but was banned in Germany by Hitler's Nazi party.


Anonymous said...

Tarzan and His Mate is bananas. It's pretty much gratuitous violence and sexuality from start to finish. They must have tossed from dummies from great heights than any other movie in history.

The nude swim in the unrated version is good stuff, even if that's not really Maureen O'Sullivan. It's more fun imagining what she looks like with no lioncloth anyway. Even more fun is Cheta running from the angry rhino.

Why are animals so angry in Africa? Is it the humidity, or the bugs?

Excellent selection, Becca!

Ben Varkentine said...

As Sebastian would say, that's why it's better down where it's wetter...

Becca said...

Why are those animals in Africa so darn angry? I think it's the heat not the humidity! HAH! Sorry that was not funny.

Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away see that's why those animals are so angry!

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