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Tarzan The Ape Man (1932)

Tarzan The Ape Man (1932) starring Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, Neil Hamilton, C. Aubrey Smith

Synopsis of Tarzan the Ape Man

Tarzan the Ape Man is Johnny Weissmuller’s first outing as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ African jungle hero. He’s aiding a young Englishwoman and her fortune-hunting father. This was the first sound version of the Tarzan adventures.

Editorial review of Tarzan the Ape Man courtesy of Amazon.com

Posterazzi Tarzan The Ape Man Maureen O'sullivan Johnny Weissmuller 1932 Movie Masterprint Poster Print (14 x 11)

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.

Cast of characters

  • Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller, Tarzan’s New York Adventure). Tarzan was the children of Christian missionaries, orphaned as a baby. Rescued and raised by gorillas, he grew up to lead them – and become lord of the jungle. Until Jane enters his life …
  • Jane Parker (Maureen O’Sullivan, A Day at the Races, David Copperfield). The daughter of James Parker, who unexpectedly joins him on his African expedition. James’ partner Harry falls in love with her. As does the mysterious ape man!
  • James Parker (C. Aubrey Smith, Five Came Back, Dr. Jeklyll and Mr. Hyde 1941). The African explorer, on an expedition in Africa in search of the elephant burial grounds that will provide enough ivory to make him rich. But finds more than he bargained for when he first hears, and later sees, the jungle man in the trees.
  • Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton, Batman, The Family Jewels). Parker’s partner, who decides to protect Jane from the dangers of the jungle. And begins to fall in love with her. Although greedy, he’s not really a villain. But he is a rival for Jane’s affection.

Review of Tarzan the Ape Man

Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) kidnapped by Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) who's kidnapped her -- he's never seen a human woman before!
Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan) kidnapped by Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) who’s kidnapped her — he’s never seen a human woman before!

James Parker (C. Aubrey Smith) and Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton) are on an expedition in Africa in search of the elephant burial grounds that will give them enough ivory to make them both rich. Unexpectedly, Parker’s beautiful young daughter Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan) arrives to join them. Harry is attracted to Jane and he does his best to help protect her from all the dangers that they experience. Jane is terrified when Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) and his ape friends first abduct her – understandably so! But when she returns to her father’s expedition she has second thoughts about leaving Tarzan. After the expedition is captured by a tribe of violent pygmies, Jane sends Cheetah to bring Tarzan to rescue them …

The first in a long series of Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan – and probably the best of the bunch. This is the origin story of how they meet, and how Jane’s father is flummoxed by her jungle suitor. And how poor Neil Hamilton goes from being Jane’s protector, to being in love with her, to being spurned by her in favor of the jungle man in a loin cloth. He makes a return appearance in the next film in the series.