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Tarzan Finds a Son!
Tarzan und sein Sohn

USA 1939
produced by
Sam Zimbalist for MGM
directed by Richard Thorpe
starring Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield, Ian Hunter, Henry Stephenson, Frieda Inescort, Henry Wilcoxon, Laraine Day, Morton Lowry
written by Cyril Hume, based on characters by Edgar Rice Burroughs, music by William Axt, Sol Levy

Tarzan, Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller), Tarzan at MGM

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Deep deep in the African jungle, chimpanzee Cheetah finds a little babyboy in a planewreck, & brings him to Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) & Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan). & while Jane immediately feels her motherlly instincts coming through & wants to take care of the boy, Tarzan, suddenly feeling he is no longer the most important man in Jane's wife, needs a little more convincing.

5 years later, the baby has developed into a young boy called Boy (Johnny Sheffield) - a name handpicked by Tarzan - & turns out to be a typical young rascal on a big playground (in his case the jungle), always getting into jams. But Tarzan's & Jane's love & care always saves him from serious trouble.

Then one day an expedition - made up of Austin Lancing (Ian Hunter), his wife (Frieda Inescort), his uncle Sir Thomas (Henry Stephenson) & their guide Sande (Henry Wilcoxon) - arrives at Tarzan & Jane's place, & they turn out to be looking for Boy & his parents (who were killed by savages shortly after their plane crashed). Jane, who doesn't want to give away Boy, at first lies about Boy's origins, claiming him to be her own son. Sir Thomas however soon sees through her lies, makes her confess & even persuades her to hand Boy over to them. With Tarzan though it is a different matter, since he doesn't understand why a life outside the jungle would be more suitable for Boy, & he'd rather die than give him away. So Jane makes up a plan to trap him in a valley where he can't get out on his own ... all for Boy's sake, even if it might mean the end of their relationship.

But with Tarzan out of the way, Austin & wife show their true colours, they only want Boy to, as their legal guardians, get their hands on his inheritance, & they would sop at nothing to get what they want, even if that means to shoot Sir Thomas - who in contrast to them really cared about Boy.

Of course, on their way back to civilisation, with Jane & Boy as captives, the Lancings soon run into a tribe of savages, & they take the whole group prisoner & plan to sacrifice them all. Now Jane figures Boy is their only hope, as he is small enough to slip through a hole in the walls to the savages' village & furthermore he knows the jungle well enough to find his way to Tarzan & get him outof his valley prison. but when covering Boy's escape, Jane gets a spear in the back ...

On his way to Tarzan, Boy runs into all the usual perils of the jungle, but survives all of them unscathed, frees Tarzan & the 2 of them, with their army of apes & elephants, head for the native village, which the elephants flatten (probably footage taken from earlier Tarzan films), & soon enough Jane is saved, along with Austin & his wife, whom Tarzan disgusted sends away. At first he wants to send Jane away too ... until he sees the wound in her back that makes him notice how much he loves her, & everything's back to normal ...

 

It's a safe bet to say that if you like (pulp) jungle adventures, you will like Tarzan the Ape Man & you will love its sequel Tarzan and his Mate. The third film of the series, Tarzan Escapes, was still somehow ok but already very formulaic & didn't have anything new to offer. But with this one, the fourth in the series, it really got hokey: The sense of adventure & the love for exotica are really lost here in favour of a cheesy family story with some greedy heirs thrown in, all in front of a jungle background ... it's pure kitsch, & while it might have some campy qualities, it's not very good (neither so-bad-it's-good for that matter).

Probably, this one should have been the last of the series, but Weissmuller did make 2 more for MGM, then 6 for RKO. Johnny Sheffiled as Boy was in all but the last one (Tarzan and the Mermaids, 1948) of them. He also made the 12-film-series Bomba, the Jungle Boy at Monogram.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD