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The Son of Tarzan

USA 1920
produced by
Harry M. Rubey, David P. Howells (executive) for National Film Corporation
directed by Arthur J. Flaven, Harry Revier
starring Kamuela C. Searle, P. Dempsey Tabler, Manilla Martan, Karla Schramm, Gordon Griffith, Mae Giraci, Eugene Burr, Frank Morrell, Ray Thompson, Saville De Sacia, Frank Earle, Kathleen May, Lucille Rubey, Charles G. Clarke
screenplay by Roy Somerville, based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs

serial, silent
Tarzan

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Tarzan's (P. Dempsey Tabler) adventures in the jungle are long a thing of the past, these days he lives in a mansion in Great Britain with Jane (Karla Schramm), and the two have a young son, Jack (Gordon Griffith), who upon the insistance of Jane, has been brought up without the first idea of the jungle. Tarzan though thinks he hasn't got an ounce of jungle instinct in him - until Jack sees the performance of trained ape Ajax in the theatre, the trained ape who has once been Tarzan's best friend but now is trained by Ivan Paulovich (Eugene Burr), an old enemy of Tarzan's. When Ajax spots Jack, he thinks it's Tarzan and thrashes the whole theatre ... and Jack's jungle instincts awaken. Ivan uses that to his advantage and kidnaps Jack to Africa, but then Ajax turns on Ivan ... and somehow, the ape and Jack ultimately land in the jungles of Africa - to Jack's great joy.

After slowly adapting to jungle life, Jack finds a girl, Meriem (Mae Giraci), held hostage by Sheikh Ben Kathour (Frank Morrell), who claims she is his own daughter even though he has indeed kidnapped her and there is a reward for her safe return. Jack and Ajax free her from her captor and take her to live in the jungle with them. There is a rub to this though: Ivan Paulovich, who has hooked up with a gang of cutthroats since we've last seen him, now wants to get his hands on the girl to sack the reward, and he's hell-bent on getting her, thus goes after Jack - but the Sheikh thinks Ivan has stolen the girl from him, so the two of them (and their respective gangs/tribes) are at war before too long, and ...

Years later: Jack has now grown up to be Korak the Killer (now played by Kamuela C. Searle), with Meriem (now played by Manilla Martan) still by his side. Ivan Paulovich and his cutthroats are still about and loot native tribe after native tribe, and while most of his gang just want to make enough dough to make it back home as wealthy men, Ivan still hasn't given up on tracking down Korak to have his belated revenge on Tarzan. So after his gang leaves him after a botched up attack, he and two Swedes team up to capture Meriem for the reward and kill Korak as a bonus. They do capture Meriem and Korak every now and again alternatively, but it's always the Sheikh, natives, apes or elephants that spoil all their plans. Anyways, eventually, Ivan manages to lure Jane to Africa, as he figures he can get tons of ransom for her and Korak, but that only lures Tarzan to Africa as well, and suddenly ... Korak gets lost and is believed dead by everyone, Korak believes Meriem dead, Tarzan and Jane adopt Meriem and take her to their jungle mansion where they soon invite their British friends, then Meriem falls in love with one of the Brits, and the two want to elope. Ivan and the Swedes decide to pretend to help them but then take them hostage, then Meriem's Brit dies defending her and the Sheikh gets his dirty hands on her again - but this time, Korak saves her, kills the Sheikh - and is almost burned on a stake by his tribe until his favourite elephant saves him. Well, somehow Ivan and the Swedes die too, Tarzan manages to track down Korak and Meriem, Meriem's father arrives in Africa to finally come look for her ... and everything ends happily.

 

One of the lesser incarnations of Tarzan (or rather his son, but it's pretty much same difference), this was obviously shot on the cheap and on the quick, which gives the whole thing a very rushed look. Pair this with a relative lack of imagination considering jungle threats and a highly repetitive storyline that's nevertheless full of plotholes, leaps of reason and the like. Now add to that a cast that uniformly overacts to the point of ridiculeness (even by silent movie standards), and you're left with - a rather disappointing serial.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD