Monday, May 16, 2022

The New Adventures Of Tarzan - 1935!

I've long read that Herman Brix was arguably the most accurate Tarzan on screen, and while from the stills and things I'd seen he sure looked the part, it wasn't until he spoke in normal unbroken English that I'd tend to agree. While Ron Ely is my favorite Tarzan, I must say that Brix does a magnificent job portraying the Ape Man, though his acting is suspect he's very earnest about the whole thing. He's perfect physically and apparently did many of his own stunts in this movie, and it shows. The stunts are pretty good too, especially a fight with a lion. It's clearly not Brix in this scene but it's the most rugged such scene I've encountered, it really looked like the lion was trying to gnaw on the guy. Brix jumping around in the trees is really convincing. Great stuff. 

The New Adventures of Tarzan, a serial from 1935 is pretty basic actually in terms of plot. There's an idol that holds the secret to riches and a formula for a ghastly explosive. It's hidden in the Guatemalan jungle and Tarzan and his allies Major Martling and Ulla Vale along with some guy named George for comedy relief go to Guatemala to get this "Green Goddess" and to rescue Paul D'Arnot, Tarzan's friend. They do the latter pretty quickly but keeping hold of the statue is tougher and despite its pretty hefty mass and weight the thing gets hauled all over the place by both sides. There's savage ancient culture that wants to sacrifice someone every few chapters and some spies who serve as nice villains for the piece. It's not a perfect story, but it's a pretty good one, and has that solid Tarzan feel to it. That's doubtless because of ERB's direct input in this production. 

The big drawback on this is the sound which on my DVD was pretty terrible in places, but it's not like this is Shakespeare, so missing a line here and there is not so critical. Apparently, the sound of the movie was bad from the get-go and there's even an apology in the print to say it was the environment of shooting. The action is on display and there's lots of it. The music is often absent from this story, and when there is music it's often a series of peculiar tones which get more effective as the story unfolds. The climax on the story is stupendous, but the final chapter is an odd one, and that's all I'll say. 

The serial was cut up into two feature films, one called The New Adventures of Tarzan and the sequel Tarzan and the Green Goddess. If you like Tarzan at all, you'll probably like this story and for the cheap prices this can be had at, it's a bargain regardless. Highly recommended. 

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  1. I can't say with any certainty whether or not I've ever seen any versions of this serial/movie, but I have no immediate recollection of doing so despite the Green Goddess title ringing a bell in my mind. Sounds as if it would benefit from being subtly redubbed, which surely wouldn't be impossible given today's technology. I'll keep an eye out for this one.

    1. It could do with a general remastering indeed. The feature film versions are in public domain I think and on several of the cheaper Tarzan movie collections.

  2. Here in the UK a "Green Goddess" was a type of fire-engine which was only used in emergencies - for example in 1977 there was a firefighters' strike and the government wheeled out the Green Goddesses operated by the army.

  3. I looked them up and they rather funky looking but compact.