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Tarzan the Tiger

USA 1929
produced by
Adventure Pictures/Universal
directed by Henry MacRae
starring Frank Merrill, Natalie Kingston, Al Ferguson, Kithnou, Sheldon Lewis, Paul Panzer, Clive Morgan
written by William Lord Wright (supervisor), Ian McClosky Heath (continuity), Ford L. Beebe (titles), based on the novel Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar by Edgar Rice Burroughs

serial, silent
Tarzan, Tarzan (Frank Merrill)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Some sources quote Tarzan the Tiger as the first sound-Tarzan-film as well as the film (or serial more accurately) where Tarzan's war cry could just be heard. Both this claims are true only in part: Essentially, Tarzan the Tiger was filmed as a silent, but to meet up with audience expectations a sound track was hastily added, consisting of a musical score, some incidental jungle sounds and Tarzan's war cry, but all the dialogue is - in best silent movie manner - delivered by title cards only. About the war cry: Tarzan's yell here only consists of shouting a rather unimpressive "Yaah, yaah !" every now and again that is a far cry (excuse the pun) from what we have become accustomed to from the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzans onwards.


But first the story ...

Lord Greystoke (Frank Merrill), formerly known as Tarzan, lord of the jungle, and his wife Lady Jane (Natalie Kingston) live on a plantation on the edge of the jungle. But financial difficulties force Greystoke/Tarzan back into the jungle again, to get the jewels of Opar - a perilious endeavour, as not only is La, the High Priestess of Opar (Kithnou) madly in love with him and will stop at nothing, not even killing Lady Jane, to get him, but there's also soldier of fortune Albert Werper (Al Ferguson), who poses as Tarzan's friend to get the jewels himself. And then there's Achmet Zek (Sheldon Lewis), who would like nothing more than to kidnap Jane and sell her into slavery - and kidnapping her, he eventually does ...

Tarzan evenutally finds the Jewels of Opar, but gts caught in a landslide which makes him forget everything, especially his being Lord Greystoke, and the actual worth of the jewels he now refers to as pretty pebbles ...

Jane meanwhile has managed to escape Achmet Zek - an escape that for some reason made her put on a skimpy fur dress - but she soon becomes captive by the High Priestess of La ... but is saved by Tarzan, who doesn't even remember her but somehow feels drawn to her - he even gives her his pretty pebbles.

But soon enough, she is recaptured by Achmet Zek, who is now working together with Albert Werper - that is until Werper kills Zek and puts the blame on Tarzan ...

At first, Tarzan is mad at Jane and even wants to have his revenge on her because he believes she has stolen his pretty pebbles, but he frees her from Werper nevertheless and eventually she can convince him that she hasn't taken his pebbles (and neither has Werper taken them) but hidden them in Tarzan's hut.

Reconciled, Tarzan agrees to go to Opar with Jane, who thinks something in Opar might trigger tarzan's lost memory ... not too good an idea actually, since Werper has since realized he hasn't got the real jewels and has now teamed up with High Priestess La to get them from Tarzan. A series of ambushes and fights follow, but in the end, Tarzan regains his memory and in exchange for his and Lady Jane's freedom he shows La and her followers where the jewels of Opar, their long lost treasure, are hidden ... and once again Werper finds himself without his most important ally - but he doesn't give up yet but hurries back to Tarzan's estate, where meets up with Annersley (Clive Morgan), Tarzan's cousin who is hell-bent on taking over his title and possessions, at any cost possible, even if it means Tarzan's death. And to that end, he has even hired Werper in the first place.

The two of them soon find a way to overcome Tarzan and take Jane their prisoner,  but instead of killing Tarzan right away, they tie him to a tree and let nature do the rest ... bad idea, since the jungle animals, especially the elephant Tantor the Terror, are Tarzan's friends, and they not only free Tarzan from his ropes but also track down and kill Annersley and Werper for him.

And in the end, thanks to the pretty pebbles that Werper had on him, Tarzan and Jane are able to overcome their financial difficulties.


As a whole, Tarzan the Tiger is an entertaining if not terribly original jungle adventure, with Frank Merrill's performance as the lord of the jungle being mediocre at best, and his outfit - something I would call a leopard leotard and a headband to match - might look unintentionally funny from today's point of view. And Kithnou, as La the High Priestess, just fails to project any of the exotic eroticism the role would demand (quite the opposite, she looks like a bland old-virgin-style English school teacher), while her temple-dancers seem a bit ridiculous.

That said though, the serial is on the other hand reasonably fast paced, with plenty of action, and diverting stock footage to pad out the proceedings and give the jungle locale some authencity (which never works) is kept to a minimum.

In all, it's not great, but it's entertaining nevertheless.


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




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


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD