Many actors have slipped on a loincloth and swung from a jungle vine, but nobody reached the treetops of Tarzania quite like Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic swimmer. And Tarzan's greatest Jane was Maureen O'Sullivan, who moved into T's treehouse for six films at MGM, all collected in this splendid boxed set. It is possible to find these films hokey... but only if you have absolutely no feeling for the magic of early-sound pictures, or no joy in the gee-whiz, Saturday-matinee wonder of Tarzan's prelapsarian lifestyle. To say nothing of the surprisingly overt running theme of (implied) hot jungle sex.
Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932), made with the blessings of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, establishes the basics of the series (and uses extra Africa footage MGM had compiled for Trader Horn). There'd been many Tarzans before, but Weissmuller's buff bod and innocent charm won over audiences. Tarzan and His Mate is generally considered the best of the lot; it is also the sexiest, especially after the restoration of a hotsy-totsy nude swimming scene. The formula still works in Tarzan Escapes, which brings Jane's cousins out for a visit to the Mutia Escarpment, with its elephant-powered elevator for Tarzan's pad. (Always keep in mind that this is Africa of kiddie imagination, not the real deal.) Tarzan Finds a Son! introduces Johnny Sheffield as Boy, and stirs up the nest. --Robert Horton
TARZAN THE APE MAN (1932) The first teaming of Johnny Weissmuller as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Jungle Lord and Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane sets a high adventure standard and includes an exciting sequence of elephants rescuing Tarzan and Jane from pygmy captors. TARZAN ESCAPES (1936) A vile bwana has Tarzan caged and ready to ship to England for display as a sideshow freak. Can steel bars hold the ape man? Catch fascinating glimpses of Tarzan and Jane’s jungle domesticity, including their dazzling treehouse. TARZAN AND HIS MATE (1934) This second Weissmuller/O’Sullivan film includes footage edited shortly after the movie’s original release, including a playful skinny-dip sequence. Tarzan also subdues a rhinoceros, wrestles a crocodile and rescues Jane as she’s besieged by lions and warriors near a sacred elephant burial ground. TARZAN FINDS A SON! (1939) There’s a new cry in the jungle – the cry of an infant. A baby that survived a plane crash is adopted by Tarzan and Jane. John Sheffield debuts as Boy and outside intruders trigger a family rift igniting a crisis of kidnap, rescue and reunion. DISC 1: TARZAN THE APE MAN and TARZAN ESCAPES DISC 2: TARZAN AND HIS MATE and TARZAN FINDS A SON! Languages: English & Français • Subtitles: English, Français & Español.