27 user 20 critic

Tarzan Escapes (1936)

An expedition seeking to bring Jane back to civilization, and Tarzan into captivity, gets more than it's bargained for.


Richard Thorpe, John Farrow (uncredited) | 3 more credits »


Cyril Hume (screen play), Edgar Rice Burroughs (based upon the characters created by)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Johnny Weissmuller ... Tarzan
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Jane
John Buckler John Buckler ... Captain Fry
Benita Hume ... Rita Parker
William Henry ... Eric Parker
Herbert Mundin ... Herbert Henry Rawlins
E.E. Clive ... Masters
Darby Jones ... Bomba
Cheetah Cheetah ... Cheetah-A Chimpanzee


Jane's cousins Rita and Eric Parker arrive in Africa searching for her. Their uncle has died and has left her half a million pounds provided she agrees to return to civilization. A professional hunter, Captain Fry, quickly agrees to escort them to the escarpment where rumor has it there there lives a great white ape. He's intrigued when told that the great white ape is likely Tarzan and his plan is to capture him and put him on display. When they all find each other, Jane agrees to return to London if only to ensure that her cousins get their late uncle's wealth. Fry manipulates Tarzan into believing that Jane will never return only to trap him. When Jane and the others are taken prisoner by warring tribesmen, it's left to Tarzan to rescue them. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THRILLS YOU'VE NEVER KNOWN! (Print ad- Buffalo Courier Express, ((Buffalo NY)) 23 November 1936) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The original director was James C. McKay, who filmed many gruesome scenes. In July 1936, he was replaced by John Farrow who practically re-shot the entire film. There were also cast and crew changes: Granville Bates was dropped from the cast, while Herbert Mundin was added, playing a new character. Darby Jones replaced Everett Brown as "Bomba"; Elmer Sheeley replaced Cedric Gibbons as art director; A. Arnold Gillespie replaced James Basevi for special effects; Tom Tutwiler replaced 'Max Fabian' for photographic effects; and Charles Salerno Jr. replaced cameramen Virgil W. Vogel and Walter Strenge. See more »


With Tarzan trapped in the steel cage a second elephant arrives to Tarzan's aid to bend the bars to where the Ape Man can squeeze out. Notice the elephant tusks. Notice how mobile, how easily deflected the tusks of both elephants are. Notice especially where the tusk of the elephant screen left oscillates briefly. See more »


[first lines]
Riverboat Captain: All right. Tie her up. Make her fast. Pull her in, boys.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original version, titled The Capture of Tarzan, was shown to preview audiences in 1935. The film was heavily criticized for scenes of gruesome violence. So strong was the negative reaction that the studio ordered much of the film re-shot. Original director Jim McKay was fired when he refused to do this. The re-edited version was retitled Tarzan Escapes. See more »


Followed by Tarzan and the Lost Safari (1957) See more »


Cannibal Carnival
(1920) (uncredited)
Music by Sol Levy
Played during main titles
See more »

User Reviews

"Tarzan makes me alive..."
29 January 2017 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Jane's cousins come to Africa looking to take her back to England. They enlist the help of a big game hunter who, like every hunter in the Tarzan series, is evil. None of this goes over well with Tarzan. Third entry in MGM's Tarzan series is less impressive than the first two but still entertaining in its own right. Maureen O'Sullivan's charm and playful chemistry with Johnny Weissmuller is the best part of the movie. Actually, it's probably the best part of the entire series to me.

As other reviewers have discussed, this one was meddled with by the studio, who deemed the original cut too violent after poor screenings. Unfortunately, we'll probably never know how good that version was. The biggest cut we know of is the much-talked about climax involving giant bats. It sounds pretty cool and I hope someday a copy of that cut exists so we can see it. Still, even with the cuts, the climax of this film is still exciting.

It's an enjoyable film, even if it doesn't hold up well compared to the two that preceded it. Weissmuller and O'Sullivan are terrific. The rest of the cast is pretty good, too, with Herbert Mundin a standout. I can't imagine any fan of the series not liking this one, even if the spectre of "what might have been" hangs over it. Too bad about those bats, though.

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Release Date:

6 November 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Capture of Tarzan See more »


Box Office


$1,058,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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