Tarzan and His Mate

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Tarzan and His Mate
Tarzan and His Mate.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Cedric Gibbons
Produced by Bernard H. Hyman
Written by James Kevin McGuiness
Based on characters created by 
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring Johnny Weissmuller
Maureen O'Sullivan
Neil Hamilton
Paul Cavanagh
Cinematography Clyde De Vinna
Charles G. Clarke
Edited by Tom Held
Release dates
  • April 16, 1934 (1934-04-16)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,279,142 (est)

Tarzan and His Mate (1934) is an action adventure film based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was the second in the Tarzan film series to star Johnny Weissmuller.

In 2003, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.


The film begins with Tarzan and Jane Parker living in the jungle. Harry Holt and his business partner Martin Arlington meet up with them on their way to take ivory from an elephant burial ground. Holt tries to convince Jane, who was with him on his first trip to the jungle, to return with him by bringing her gifts from civilization including clothing and modern gadgets but she tells them she would rather stay with Tarzan.

When Tarzan learns that the two men wish to loot the elephant's graveyard, he will have nothing to do with it; so Martin shoots an elephant so it can act as an instinctive guide. Only Jane's intervention keeps Tarzan from murdering Martin. But Martin's attempt to remove the ivory is thwarted when Tarzan appears with a herd of elephants. Martin feigns repentance, and promises to leave the next day without the ivory.

Early the next morning, Martin attempts to kill Tarzan, and Jane thinking him dead, decides to return to civilization. Meanwhile, Cheeta and his ape friends nurse Tarzan back to health in time for him to stop the men who shot him. But they are attacked by lion men, who summon lions to help them kill the members of the safari. Both Martin and Holt lose their lives through lion attacks, and Jane is in danger from lions. Then, Tarzan and an army of apes and elephants arrive in time to rout both the lion men and the lions, after which they return the ivory to the elephants' graveyard.


Tarzan and His Mate being shown in Shanghai's Nanking Theatre

For a swimming scene in this pre-code film, alternate footage was shot of Jane in various stages of dress, ranging from totally nude to fully covered. According to film historian Rudy Behlmer: "From all evidence, three versions of the sequence eventually went out to separate territories during the film's initial release. One with Jane clothed in her jungle loin cloth outfit, one with her topless, and one with her in the nude."[1] Maureen O'Sullivan did not play the underwater naked Jane in the alternate footage; she was doubled by Olympic swimmer Josephine McKim, who competed in the 1928 games with Johnny Weissmuller. A version with alternate footage with Jane swimming nude or topless was restored in 1986 by Turner Entertainment for its video release. This scene was shot at Lake Sherwood.[2]

Like other Tarzan/Weissmuller films, the elephants were Indian and not African. Large ears and tusks were fitted onto the animals in an attempt to make them look authentic.

Tarzan rides a rhinoceros in one scene - a first for film. The rhino, Mary, was imported from the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany. Weismuller did the scene himself, sustaining only minor scrapes to sensitive places from Mary's rough hide.[3]


  1. ^ Vieira, Mark A. (1999), Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood, New York: Harry N. Abrams, p. 180, ISBN 0-8109-4475-8 
  2. ^ http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/501073/Tarzan-And-His-Mate-Movie-Clip-Did-You-Get-Your-Worm-.html
  3. ^ See John Taliaferro's biography of Burroughs, Tarzan Forever, p. 282, ISBN 0-684-83359-X

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