Tarzan the Ape Man

Title: Tarzan the Ape Man
Year: 1932
Length: 100 minutes
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Writers: Cyril Hume & Ivor Novello; characters by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, Neil Hamilton, C. Aubrey Smith
Music: stock music (I think)

My reaction
Synopsis: on an African expedition, a woman is abducted by a wild man
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Good.
Story: Bad. Would have been okay, but we never do find out how or why Tarzan is in the jungle. Or where he got his knife.
Characters: Good.
Dialog: Bad. Fortunately, a lot of it is difficult to hear.
Pacing: Bad.
Cinematography: Bad.
Special effects/design: Bad.  Mostly terrible, but I’ve got to give some credit for The Yell.
Acting: Indifferent. The actors seem good in general, but they might have benefited from a second take here and there.
Music: Bad. The music that plays over the credits is absolutely wonderful. But apart from that and a few seconds of Tchaikovsky at the very end, there’s no music. And it badly needs music.
Subjective Rating: 6/10 (Okay). It has moments of greatness. An action scene or two are actually somewhat exciting. But it’s very slow, and the quality of the film-making is bad even by early 1930s standards.
Objective Rating: 1.6/4 (Eh).


2 Responses to Tarzan the Ape Man

  1. Łowiczanka says:

    The sad part is that no movie has ever portrayed Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan accurately. Tarzan was well educated, spoke English and French and Swahili fluently. However, it is still fun to see a guy in a loin cloth swing through the trees and talk to the animals.

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