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Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Family | 16 June 1939 (USA)
Tarzan finds a boy from a crashed plane and raises him with Jane in the jungle. A search party comes looking for the plane.

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writers:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Johnny Weissmuller ... Tarzan
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Jane
Johnny Sheffield ... Boy (as John Sheffield)
Ian Hunter ... August Lancing
Henry Stephenson ... Sir Thomas Lancing
Frieda Inescort ... Mrs. August Lancing
Henry Wilcoxon ... Mr. Sande
Laraine Day ... Mrs. Richard Lancing
Morton Lowry ... Mr. Richard Lancing
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Storyline

A young couple die in a plane crash in the jungle. Their son is found by Tarzan and Jane who name him Boy and raise him as their own. Five years later a search party comes to find the young heir to millions of dollars. Jane agrees, against Tarzan's will, to lead them to civilization. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All New! The First Tarzan Picture In 3 Years! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 June 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tarzan in Exile See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,265,020

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,551,840
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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

In the original script Jane was to have died (Maureen O'Sullivan wanted out of the Tarzan series). Fan protest forced a last-minute rewrite in which Jane recovers from her near-fatal wound, admitting she had been wrong to disobey Tarzan. See more »

Goofs

A cockatoo is seen in the film. These birds are native to Australasia, not Africa. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mr. Richard Lancing: Wildebeest again.
Mrs. Richard Lancing: I think we've seen about a million today.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released as Tarzan in Exile (1939), the film originally ended with the death of Jane. Protests by fans and Edgar Rice Burroughs forced the studio to reshoot much of the film so Jane survives. See more »

Connections

Followed by Tarzan and the Huntress (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Tarzan's Boy Wonder
4 February 2005 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

TARZAN FINDS A SON (MGM, 1939), directed by Richard Thorpe, the fourth installment to the popular movie series based on the characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, marks a new beginning for Tarzan and Jane as they become parents and accepting the responsibility in raising a child. No, Jane did not have a blessed event in the traditional sense, nor did Tarzan start passing out bananas in place of cigars in the waiting room to other expectant African native fathers in the waiting room of a jungle cottage hospital, nor did Cheetah act as the midwife. Three years have passed since the last installment of TARZAN ESCAPES (1936), which provided enough time for the writers to come up with something original. While the plots and situations were starting to repeat themselves by this time, something new has been added, a son for Tarzan and Jane, with delivery not by way of stalk but by air delivery. Because no marriage ceremony was ever indicated since their union, the rulers of the production code couldn't permit Jane to become pregnant and bear forth a child of her own since Tarzan and Jane were obviously living together. So the writers have thought up a the solution to the problem:

A young British couple (Morton Lowery and Laraine Day), aboard a private airplane with their infant baby, learn that they are in danger when the plain acquires engine trouble. After the pilot (Gavin Muir) makes a crash landing, everyone perishes except for the child. He is later picked up by chimpanzee's before Cheetah takes the infant, offers it to Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller), who in turn vine swings himself back to the tree house where he presents the child to Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan). At first Tarzan becomes jealous of Jane's full attention towards the child, but in time becomes fond of him also, and being the "father," names him Boy. Five years pass. The introduction of Boy (John Sheffield in his movie debut) is shown in full swing as he hangs on to the vine, doing everything Tarzan does. He even learns the ape call like Tarzan, and uses it whenever in distress, such as one instance as he is caught and being covered by a big web and nearly getting attacked by a flock of large-size spiders. But outside of that, all seems to go well for the jungle family until a searching party, (Ian Hunter, Frieda Inescort, Henry Wilcoxson and Henry Stephenson), enters the scene. Revealed as relatives of Boy's deceased parents, they learn the truth of the boy and try to persuade Jane into deciding to giving up the youngster so they can take him back to England where he belongs (especially since he happens to be the heir to several million dollars). While Tarzan has already made up his mind in keeping Boy with them, the scheming relatives, with the exception of Sir Thomas (Stephenson), now being held captive, have other plans.

TARZAN FINDS A SON is a grand scale production and the only one in the series set in a time frame of more than the standard months or weeks, in this instance, five years, although the movie itself gives the impression of taking place solely in 1939 instead of from 1934 to the present, especially since Maureen O'Sullivan's 1940s hairstyle is evident throughout, but otherwise, makes little difference to the plot since it's the story and action the viewers come to see. As credited in the opening titles, underwater swimming scenes were filmed in Silver Springs, Florida. What a pity it wasn't done in Technicolor to take advantage of the fine location scenery. But with its usual dose of elephant stampedes, Cheetah's comedy relief and Tarzan's race to the rescue and a one man fight against hundreds of African natives, is enough adventure and excitement during its 81 minute time frame not to be a disappointment.

TARZAN FINDS A SON, along with the other MGM entries, have become available on either the VHS or DVD format, and formerly shown on the American Movie Classics cable channel from 1997 to 2000. It later shifted over to Turner Classic Movies where its premiered June 4, 2004, Bob Dorian, former AMC host, once profiled this chapter as being the one in which Maureen O'Sullivan, who wanted out of the series, to have her Jane character killed off, but preview audiences objected and a new ending was substituted. It's also been mentioned that is was Weissmuller who personally selected little John Sheffield, out of hundreds of candidates, for the role of Boy. He must have made a great impression since he would reprise his role seven more times until he outgrew the part by 1947. Next chapter: TARZAN'S SECRET TREASURE (1941). (***1/2)


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