Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The New Adventures of Tarzan (1936)

(aka: Tarzan's New Adventure)



Reviews and Comments

Most prior screen incarnations of Edgar Rice Burroughs' legendary jungle hero were not even close to Burroughs' character. The Tarzan of the books grew up in the jungle, yes, but returned to England and was educated at Oxford before returning again to his jungle home. He was nobility even, the son of Lord and Lady Greystoke, and inherited his father's title. He was an intelligent, literate, culturally-aware man. Yet the cinematic version of Tarzan, up to that time, was an illiterate animal-like hermit whose first contact with civilization was his soon-to-be-girlfriend Jane.

It's an urban legend that Burroughs was incensed at the changes made to his character: in fact, he was enthusiastically pleased with the Weissmuller films. Nonetheless, he produced his own Tarzan production more in line with his original vision of the character. This was a a serial entitled The New Adventures of Tarzan. The serial was later edited into two (short) feature films released in the following years. The first film bore the same title, and the second was called Tarzan and the Green Goddess.

This first half of the 1935 serial relates several characters' efforts to find the green goddess, a valuable artifact in the possession of a tribe of natives in Guatemala. Burroughs and the filmmakers that worked with him on this weren't quite successful in bringing the real Tarzan to cinematic life. It's easy to see how The New Adventures of Tarzan's story could be a gripping, rip-roaring novel -- but it's somehow unengaging as a film. The plot is solid, but it's hard to tell, so thoroughly is it camouflaged by deplorable acting and poor quality sound. (The opening credits even contain an apology for the bad soundtrack.) It's partially redeemed by some gripping suspense scenes and intriguing visuals. But as a whole, it's uninvolving and forgettable.

Series Entries

Related Films