Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Tarzan, The Ape Man was not only MGM's inaugural "Tarzan" film, but also the first to star former Olympic swimming champ Johnny Weissmuller as The Lord of the Jungle (strange but true: one of the pre-Weissmuller "Tarzan" candidates was Clark Gable!) Utilizing scads of stock footage from MGM's Trader Horn (1931), the film begins with great white hunter James Parker (C. Aubrey Smith) trekking through darkest Africa in search of the legendary Elephant Graveyard. Accompanying Parker is his daughter Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) and her erstwhile beau Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton). The expedition is habitually sabotaged by the ecology-conscious Tarzan, a white man who'd been lost in the jungle years earlier and raised by Apes. Tarzan kidnaps Jane and spirits her away to the treetops, where she gradually overcomes her fear of the Loinclothed One and teaches him to speak English ("Tarzan...Jane", not "Me Tarzan...You Jane" as has often been reported). The perfect gentleman, Tarzan returns Jane to her father and swings off into the distance. When Parker, Jane and Holt are captured by pygmies, Tarzan comes to the rescue, with an entourage of his elephant friends. At fade-out time, Jane has decided to renounce civilization and spend the rest of her life with Tarzan. The only one of the MGM "Tarzans" actually based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs originals, Tarzan the Ape Man proved a surprise hit, spawning an endless parade of sequels and remakes.
apeman, capture, family, feral-child, gorilla, hunting, jungle, pygmy, romance, wilderness