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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935)



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Edgar Rice Burroughs helped produce this 12-chapter serial. Unlike the dumbed down portrayals of the Tarzan character in the other feature films of the day, this one more closely resembles the Tarzan of the books. Despite being truer to the character, the production is shoddy, uninspired, and overlong. The occasional fights with wild jungle cats are pretty good, though: Tarzan is clearly wrestling with real lions and so forth most of the time, with only the occasional shot of stuffed animals flying comically through the air. Unfortunately, however, most of the action scenes are just about Tarzan furiously fighting off mobs of badguys, which gets pretty repetitive.

The serial is agonizingly drawn out. Luckily, there is a (slightly) better way to see this: watch the short feature film of the same name, which was made by editing the first few chapters of the serial together. A sequel, Tarzan and the Green Goddess, was also constructed from footage from this serial.

An amusing trivia note: The original script was about munitions runners and undercover spies. The story was rewritten during production, but some of the chapter titles, which had relevance only to the original story, were kept. Case in point: the final chapter is called "Operative 17," which doesn't have any bearing at all on the finished film.

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