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Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Romance | 2 April 1932 (USA)
A trader and his daughter set off in search of the fabled graveyard of the elephants in deepest Africa, only to encounter a wild man raised by apes.

Director:

W.S. Van Dyke

Writers:

Edgar Rice Burroughs (based upon the characters created by), Cyril Hume (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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More Like This 

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The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory, and come seeking Jane as well.

Directors: Cedric Gibbons, James C. McKay, and 1 more credit »
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An expedition seeking to bring Jane back to civilization, and Tarzan into captivity, gets more than it's bargained for.

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Tarzan's jungle home, and his family, Jane and Boy, are threatened by men greedy for gold.

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Tarzan and Jane go to New York to rescue Boy after he is kidnapped into a circus.

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Zandra, white princess of a lost civilization, comes to Tarzan for help when Nazis invade the jungle with plans to conquer her people and take their wealth. Tarzan, the isolationist, ... See full summary »

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A letter from Jane, who is nursing British troops, asks Tarzan's help in obtaining a malaria serum extractable from jungle plants. Tarzan and Boy set out across the desert looking for the ... See full summary »

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A group of archaeologists asks Tarzan to help them find an ancient city in a hidden valley of women. He refuses, but Boy is tricked into doing the job. The queen of the women asks Tarzan to help them.

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A shortage of zoo animals after World War II brings beautiful animal trainer Tanya, her financial backer and her cruel trail boss to the jungle. After negotiating a quota with the native ... See full summary »

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An African tribe devoted to the leopard cult is dedicated to preventing civilization from moving further into Africa. Tarzan fights them when the cult first attacks a caravan and next ... See full summary »

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Boy is away at school in England. The high priest is trying to force a young girl to marry an evil pearl trader posing as the god Balu. She escapes, is recaptured and is finally rescued by ... See full summary »

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While on an African expedition with her father, Jane Parker meets Tarzan, and the two become fascinated by each other.

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An aviatrix emerges from the jungle looking as young as she was when her plane went down many years before. Unscrupulous hunters discover that this is due to a secret fountain of youth. ... See full summary »

Director: Lee Sholem
Stars: Lex Barker, Brenda Joyce, Albert Dekker
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Johnny Weissmuller ... Tarzan
Neil Hamilton ... Harry Holt
C. Aubrey Smith ... James Parker
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Jane Parker
Doris Lloyd ... Mrs. Cutten
Forrester Harvey ... Beamish
Ivory Williams Ivory Williams ... Riano
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Storyline

James Parker and Harry Holt are on an expedition in Africa in search of the elephant burial grounds that will provide enough ivory to make them rich. Parker's beautiful young daughter Jane arrives unexpectedly to join them. Harry is obviously attracted to Jane and he does his best to help protect her from all the dangers that they experience in the jungle. Jane is terrified when Tarzan and his ape friends first abduct her, but when she returns to her father's expedition she has second thoughts about leaving Tarzan. After the expedition is captured by a tribe of violent dwarfs, Jane sends Cheetah to bring Tarzan to rescue them... Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Breathless Romance Defying Convention See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tarzan, the Ape Man See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Sherwood, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$652,675 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The world premiere for Tarzan The Ape Man was held at the Stanley Theater in Baltimore, Maryland on March 11, 1932. The theater had seats for an audience of 2,843. See more »

Goofs

When Harry sits down on the ground in front of Jane, there is a campfire on his left side. In subsequent shots, which show him from the front, the campfire disappears. See more »

Quotes

Jane Parker: What color are your eyes? Yes, I know, the color of the forest. Gray-green. I wonder what you'd look like dressed. Pretty good! You'd be a great success in London. And I believe you'd love it.
Tarzan: Love it?
Jane Parker: Or would you? Women are such fools. They'd spoil you.
Tarzan: Boy!
Jane Parker: I don't think you'd better look at me like that. You're awfully attractive. I love saying things to a man who can't understand. You don't even know what kisses are.
Tarzan: Love it!
Jane Parker: I dare say you would.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jonny Quest: Double Danger (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Romeo and Juliet Overture
(1868) (uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Excerpt played during final scene and closing credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Granddaddy of Sound Tarzans Still Entertains...
24 October 2003 | by Ben Burgraff (cariart)See all my reviews

TARZAN THE APE MAN was one of Irving Thalberg's 'pet' projects at MGM, an opportunity to take an existing franchise (Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle lord had been a film staple since beefy Elmo Lincoln donned a loincloth, in 1918), give it 'A'-list production values and a 'name' director (W.S. Van Dyke), introduce charismatic actors as the leads (28-year old multiple Olympic champion Johnny Weissmuller and 21-year old Irish import Maureen O'Sullivan), and create a 'definitive' success for the studio.

A success? Thalberg created a legend!

Utilizing MGM's vast library of stock footage (primarily from 1931's TRADER HORN), a primordial Africa that was more pulp fiction than reality was created on the back lot, and veteran British character actor C. Aubrey Smith and 20s matinee idol (and future 'Batman' regular) Neil Hamilton were introduced, as James Parker and Harry Holt, adventurers questing after the legendary 'Elephants' Graveyard'. The arrival of Parker's daughter, Jane (O'Sullivan), a free-spirited, raven-haired beauty, complicates matters, but her stubborn refusal to lease, and confidence with the natives (shown as rear projections behind Smith and O'Sullivan) finally win the two men over, and soon the trio, accompanied by whip-induced native labor, are on safari.

When a dying porter points the way to the Escarpment, a massive 'taboo' mountainous plateau protecting the Graveyard, the party has the missing piece to the puzzle, and begin an arduous climb to the top. (How a massive mountain range could be hidden, for so long, is not explained). After losing a porter, and nearly Jane, on the steep climb, the summit is achieved, and the famous Tarzan yell (a combination yodel/howl, created by MGM's sound department), is first heard. A treacherous river crossing, featuring stock footage of hippos and crocodiles, then costs the safari more bearers, with another yell saving their lives.

All this leads up, of course, to Johnny Weissmuller's first appearance as Tarzan, observing the party from the trees. He is simply magnificent...tanned, slim, smoothly-muscled (as opposed to the brawny body builders later cast in the role) and nearly naked. He soon kidnaps Jane (he may be ignorant, but he's not dumb!), and the incredible chemistry between the pair is exhibited for the first time. While initially terrified of the savage (particularly as he pulls off her clothing parts to examine them), he doesn't 'have his way' with her, and she realizes he is far more sensitive than she'd assumed.

Holt kills the ape guarding Jane (one assumes it is Kala, ape 'mother' of Tarzan, in the ERB books), and Tarzan screams in anguish at his loss. Displaying the racism prevalent in so many 30s films, Jane tries to defend her erstwhile kidnapper to her father ("He's WHITE!"), but the two hunters aren't buying it, and soon wound Tarzan, himself. Jungle animals spirit the bleeding jungle lord away...and Jane is soon at Tarzan's side, bandaging his head, and looking lustily at the big lug! When he recovers, the pair consummate their passion (in a scene tastefully off-camera), and are swapping names ("Jane...Tarzan...Tarzan...Jane").

Tarzan returns Jane, and walks away, despite her pleas to return to civilization with them. The safari is soon captured by a height-challenged native tribe ("Are they Pygmies?" Jane asks; "They're dwarves," her father replies...uh, whatever...), and a gruesome scene ensues of the surviving members being lassoed and dropped into a pit with a giant gorilla (a not-quite convincing guy in an ape suit). Holt is knocked unconscious, Parker is mortally injured, Cheeta is tossed against a wall, and Jane swoons in the gorilla's arms (shades of KING KONG), then Tarzan busts in, to kill the ape and save them all. As the ever-available stampede of elephants mash the dwarves into pulp, Tarzan leads the dying Parker, Jane, and Holt to the 'Elephants' Graveyard', where Jane's father passes away. Holt returns to civilization (he would return in the sequel, TARZAN AND HIS MATE) and Tarzan, Jane, and a recovering Cheeta start an exciting new life together!

Yes, the story is unintentionally campy, the 'apes', and animal fights, unconvincing, and there is blatant racism throughout the film. But as sheer entertainment, Depression-era audiences were enthralled. Weissmuller and O'Sullivan conveyed the kind of eroticism that pre-Code Hollywood was notorious for (and would reach even greater heights in the sequel), the action sequences were spectacular, and a new MGM franchise was born, that would produce six more films over the next nine years.

Thalberg had again proven why he was considered the film industry's resident genius!


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