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New Adventures of Tarzan


The New Adventures of Tarzan is a 1935 American film serial in 12 chapters starring Bruce Bennett. The serial is a more authentic version of the character than most other adaptations, with Tarzan as a cultured and well educated gentleman as in the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. It was filmed during the same period as the Johnny Weissmuller/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Tarzan films. Film exhibitors had the choice of selecting the serial or the episodes edited into two separate films, The New Adventures of Tarzan and Tarzan and the Green Goddess.
The serial was filmed in Guatemala, and Tarzan was played by Bruce Bennett (known post-war as Bruce Bennett). The final screenplay was credited to Charles F. Royal, and from Episode 6 onward, also Basil Dickey. It was produced by Ashton Dearholt, Bennett Cohen and George W. Stout under the corporate name of “Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises, Inc.” (which also film distributor) and was directed by Edward Kull and Wilbur F. McGaugh.


Several plot elements bring the characters together in search (and pursuit) of the Guatemalan idol known as The Green Goddess: Tarzan's friend D'Arnot has crash landed in the region and is in the hands of a lost tribe of jungle natives. Major Martling is leading an expedition to find the fabled artefact for a powerful explosives formula hidden within it. Ula Vale's fiancé died in an earlier expedition to rescue the artefact for its archaeological benefit and so she starts one of her own in his honour. Raglan has been sent by Hiram Powers, Ula's lawyer, to steal the valuable idol for himself - in addition to containing the explosives formula, it also holds a fortune in jewels.Tarzan, Ula and Major Martling find the idol and rescue D'Arnot from the natives that worship it in the 70-minute-long first episode. However, Raglan escapes with the Green Goddess and heads through the jungle for the coast. Tarzan and the others pursue him across the jungle, encountering many perils, including recapture by the natives to whom the idol belonged. The adventures end out at sea where, during a hurricane, they are able to permanently secure the idol while Raglan is killed by another of Powers' agents because of his failures. The murderer perishes when the ship sinks. Returning to Greystoke Manor in England with Tarzan, Ula consigns the explosives formula to fire in the final episode, where she and Tarzan also recount several adventures from the first part of the serial to an assembled party of friends and colleagues.


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  • Bruce Bennett as Tarzan, or Lord Greystoke, who travels from Africa to Guatemala to rescue his friend, French Lt. d'Arnot, who bailed out of his plane just before it crashed, following a lightning strike, into the uncharted jungles of Guatemala and he is believed to be held by a tribe of lost natives. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. had suggested Herman Brix to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to play Tarzan. However, Brix broke his shoulder filming Touchdown (1931 film) for Paramount and, because his recovery period was uncertain, MGM cast Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan the Ape Man (1932 film) instead.< name="Essoe"></>< name="GMS"></> Sources disagree about Burroughs’ involvement with Brix's casting. Some stated that Brix was hand picked for this serial by Burroughs while others state that it was Dearholt who cast Brix and he only briefly met Burroughs afterwards for a handshake and some photographs.< name="Porges" />< name="Chapman"> Official biography of Herman Brix</> Brix was never paid for his work on this film In reality, "Don Costello" was merely a pseudonym chosen by Dearholt, who had previously starred himself in several silent films of his own making, and planned all along to do so here.< name="Porges" />
  • Frank Baker as Major Francis Martling, archaeologist leader of another expedition to find the Green Goddess, with whom Tarzan and Ula Vale join forces.
  • Lewis Sargent as George, bumbling comic relief; Major Martling's assistant.
  • Jiggs (chimpanzee) as Nkima, Tarzan's chimpanzee. Nkima, rather than Cheeta, is the name of Tarzan's animal companion in Burroughs' books, though in the books he is a monkey rather than a chimp. Jiggs earned $2,000 for this role.
  • Dale Walsh as Alice Martling, The Major's daughter who accompanies him on his expedition.
  • Harry Ernest as Gordon Hamilton, Alice's fiancé and also part of Martling's expedition. The original draft story called for Gordon and Alice to become separated from the expedition and hunted and arrested by Guatemalan authorities as gun runners. However this entangling subplot was dropped, and Gordon and Alice both return to America in the third episode, along with d'Arnot, and are not seen again excepting some incidental shots in the final episode.
  • Merrill McCormick as Bouchart, in the first chapter, who comes to Africa to alert Tarzan to d'Arnot's disappearance; and as "Pedro", a Guatemalan associate of Ula Vale.
  • Production

    =Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises=

    In 1929, a would-be movie entrepreneur, Ashton Dearholt, arranged an introduction to Edgar Rice Burroughs, using his wife's friendship with Burroughs' daughter. Dearholt had held several jobs within the film industry during the 1920s, and had even produced, directed and starred in a brief series of western films. As of 1929, he was familiar with Burroughs' work and wanted to get the rights to one of Burroughs' several singleton novels and film it in conjunction with RKO-Pathé. Burroughs, long dissatisfied with Hollywood's treatment of his Tarzan character, used but took a liking to Dearholt personally and they became friends.< name="Porges"></>
    MGM's contract with Burroughs was for just two pictures and this had run out with Tarzan and His Mate.</>

    Chapter titles

    1. The New Adventures of Tarzan
    2. Crossed Trails
    3. The Devil's Noose
    4. River Perils
    5. Unseen Hands
    6. Fatal Fangs
    7. Flaming Waters
    8. Angry Gods
    9. Doom's Brink
    10. Secret Signals
    11. Death's Fireworks
    12. Operator No. 17 -- Clipshow

    See also

    • List of film serials
    • List of film serials by studio
    • List of films in the public domain

    Category:1935 films
    Category:1930s adventure films
    Category:1930s fantasy films
    Category:American films
    Category:American fantasy films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:Film serials
    Category:Independent films
    Category:Tarzan films
    Category:Films set in Guatemala
    Category:Jungle adventure films
    Category:Films directed by Edward A. Kull
    Category:Films shot in Central America

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