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Tarzan of the Movies: A Pictorial History of More Than Fifty Years of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Legendary Hero Hardcover – June, 1968

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Dust jacket notes: "In 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs created a fictional character named Tarzan, an orphaned baby of aristocratic English parents who was reared by a female gorilla. The book, Tarzan of the Apes, was an immediate sensation and paved its author's way to subsequent wealth and fame as the creator of this tree-swinging jungle man. On January 27, 1918, the film version of Tarzan of the Apes opened at the Broadway Theatre in New York with Elmo Lincoln starring as Tarzan, and another immediate success was scored. There have since been forty Tarzan films produced, and fourteen different actors have donned the loincloth to appear as Tarzan in the movies. A fifteenth Tarzan, Ron Ely, now appears in the Tarzan television serial. Tarzan of the Movies is the exciting account of these Tarzan films, which have amassed a gross of over five hundred million dollars during their more than fifty years of existence. The volume is a history in depth of the Tarzan epic, and reveals the backstage machinations in the production of each Tarzan pictures; the rivalry between various film-makers for film rights to the Apeman; and the sometimes hilarious, and sometimes tragic, events that took place during production; there are profiles of all the actors who have essayed the role of Apeman and comparisons of their approaches to the role. More than four hundred pictures, some of them extremely rare, appear throughout the text. Tarzan of the Movies may be read for pure pleasure or studied by film buffs as an invaluable record of an aspect of a half-century of film-making."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Citadel Press (June 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806502959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806502953
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Ball on December 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Essential" and "outstanding" only begin the description of this book. The author obviously loves not only the Tarzan of the screen, but of Burrough's books as well. Photos from the movies on virtually every page, yet thoughtfully and thoroughly textual, as well. We see the hero's beginning in Burrough's (up to that time) disappointing life, rapidly emerging and taking hold of the public's imagination as the most wildly popular multimedia character of the times. Yet the more successful Tarzan became on screen, the further Hollywood took the character away from what Burroughs created. Essoe shows an amazing appreciation for the silent movie art form, given the 1968 writing of this book. He takes Tarzan's movie journey from Elmo Lincoln all the way to the (then) present, never skipping a film or TV effort. Particularly enjoyable is the coverage of the 1930's, when Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe, and even Herman Brix battled it out at the box office for rival studios (guess who wins?). The making of each film, Burrough's reaction to it, and the stories of the actors and actresses are all covered without ever slipping into drudgery. Also appreciated are the postscripts as to what each Tarzan actor went on to after hanging up the loincloth. I cannot tell you how many times I have reread this book from cover to cover. It also makes a great coffee table book. I have never seen a better treatment of this character, nor of any other.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brady Earnhart on September 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Essoe's loving collection of Tarzan film lore from the silent teens through the technicolor '60s is not a scholarly book. Some of the anecdotes feel uncritically drawn from press releases--since no sources are cited, it's hard to tell the facts from the spin. (Essoe credits Maureen O'Sullivan with a swimming sequence actually performed by a stand-in in "Tarzan and His Mate," which makes me wonder how reliable he is elsewhere.) The writing style is kind of dated, and it's sprinkled with bits of fan-club hyperbole like "ERB's fantastic creation has (in all likelihood) directly affected more lives than any other character in fiction." Even if the book isn't a great place to do research on Tarzan, though, it's juicy, eclectic, and full of (all b/w) pictures. Fun to flip through.
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