Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Revenge of Tarzan's Revenge (Part 1)

In 1938 something different in the world of Tarzan hit the screen. Many who have reviewed this film in the following years have relegated this movie to the realms of an inferior jungle flick but I believe that this movie is something very different from the other Tarzan films of its time and is in fact very modern it its presentation. Tarzan’s Revenge leaped onto the screen at a time when Tarzan’s popularity cinematically was at a height. Tarzan had been a mainstay of the silent cinema since the box office success of 'Tarzan of the Apes' in 1918 and by the 1930’s the time was right for a ‘talkie’ version. This came to be with the box office success of 1932’s ‘Tarzan the Apeman’. MGM followed this with a further five movies until leaving the franchise to RKO and producer Sol Lesser. However Sol Lesser was no newcomer to Tarzan movies. In the early 30’s when MGM believed they had the exclusive film rights to the Tarzan character, Sol Lesser claimed that he actually had the film rights to the Tarzan series, purchased from another independent producer in 1928. Graciously, for a fee, he allowed MGM to go ahead with their bigger budget production, and on the coat tales of its success, brought out his own movie Tarzan the Fearless (1933) starring Buster Crabbe in both a 12 part serial and feature film version. It was again in 1938, in a gap between MGM Tarzan releases, that Lesser bought out his next Tarzan production, this time a feature called Tarzan’s Revenge (to be continued).