After Tarzan's estate is destroyed by Arabs Jane is sold into slavery by a man posing as a friendly scientist. Tarzan develops amnesia after a blow to the head. When he recovers his memory ... See full summary »
After Tarzan's estate is destroyed by Arabs Jane is sold into slavery by a man posing as a friendly scientist. Tarzan develops amnesia after a blow to the head. When he recovers his memory (from a later blow) he defeats the villain, recovers the fabulous jewels of Opar, and rescues Jane. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Hokey but Fun Serial Marked First 'Sound' Tarzan...
TARZAN THE TIGER is certainly not in a class with the FLASH GORDON or SUPERMAN serials of the 30s and 40s, but it does hold some distinctions; filmed as a silent, to capitalize on the growing popularity of sound, a music track and sound effects were added (most memorably, the first recorded 'Tarzan yell'), making this the first 'sound' Tarzan; 36-year-old gymnastics champion Frank Merrill as 'Tarzan the Tiger', would introduce acrobatics, such as rope-climbing and vine-swinging, which would remain fixtures in all subsequent Tarzan films; Natalie Kingston, 24, as 'Lady Jane', Tarzan's wife, would don a costume very similar to the one Maureen O'Sullivan wore starting with TARZAN ESCAPES, through the remainder of her MGM films; AND Kingston would perform a breast-baring swim, five YEARS before the famous TARZAN AND HIS MATE nude underwater romp.
While Merrill's 'acting' is embarrassing (he seems to be limited to three expressions: happy, dazed, and angry), his character is fairly faithful to the vision of author Edgar Rice Burroughs; educated, a sophisticate, as comfortable in a dinner jacket as in his (unintentionally funny) jungle 'wardrobe' of a leopard-skin headband and half-bib shorts, with moccasins...why he would cover up his Herculean chest is anybody's guess! Of course, after he gets conked on the head after 'liberating' some priceless jewels in the Lost City of Opar, he forgets his 'Lord Greystoke' persona, reverting to a more Weissmuller-type Tarzan (albeit more loquacious), through most episodes of the serial.
As with all serials, cliffhanger endings abound. Will poor Lady Jane, prisoner of Arab slavers, then of a false friend (sleazy Al Ferguson), be sold on the block to the highest bidder, or suffer the indignity of a "fate worse than death"? will La (Kithnou), the rather 'butch' Queen of the eternally dancing (and mentally-challenged) Opar tribe, win the heart of the man she loves, Tarzan? Will our Hero survive even ONE cliffhanger WITHOUT the aid of the local elephant, "Tantar, the Terrible"?
While the plot is silly and repetitious, the serial does offer some impressive views of Merrill's brawny arms and back, and equally impressive views of Kingston's 'charms', as well as a guy in an ape suit (uh, I mean a gorilla) that gives Tarzan the best fight of the fifteen chapters.
All in all, TARZAN THE TIGER isn't bad, as a 'popcorn flick'!
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