TARZAN’S NEW YORK ADVENTURE (director: Richard Thorpe; screenwriter: based on the characters by Edgar Rice Burroughs/story by Myles Connolly/Myles Connolly/William R. Lipman/Gordon Kahn; cinematographer: Sidney Wagner; editor: Gene Ruggiero; music: David Snell; cast: Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan), Maureen O’Sullivan (Jane Parker), Johnny Sheffield (Boy), Virginia Grey (Connie Beach), Charles Bickford (Buck Rand), Paul Kelly (Jimmie Shields, Pilot), Chill Wills (Manchester Montford), Cy Kendall (Col. Ralph Sergeant), Russell Hicks (Judge Abbotson), Howard Hickman (Blake Norton, Tarzan’s Lawyer), Mantan Moreland (Sam, the Nightclub Janitor); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Fred Stephani; MGM; 1942)
“A hoot and a blast.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This was the last Tarzan to star Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane, and also the Tarzan series’ last film at the classy MGM. RKO now owned the rights to the series, and they operated on a lower budget and thereby the series tailed off considerably even though Weissmuller was still their Tarzan. Tarzan’s New York Adventure is a hoot and a blast. It’s a culture clash Tarzan pic that has the loin cloth wearing Ape Man out of his elements stalking the urban jungle of the Big Apple to rescue his adopted son from exploiter kidnappers. Richard Thorpe (“The Prisoner of Zenda”/”Knights of the Round Table”/”Jailhouse Rock”)pushes the right buttons to make a Tarzan film feel at home in the big city.Myles Connolly wrote the story that has him as co-writer with William R. Lipman and Gordon Kahn.
The evil big game hunter Buck Rand (Charles Bickford) hunts lions in Tarzan’s neck of the jungle, in The Mutia Escarpment, and becomes taken with Boy (Johnny Sheffield), Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) and Jane’s (Maureen O’Sullivan) adopted son, the way he gets animals to follow his commands. Buck dreams of making a fortune out of exploiting the kid’s ability at circus shows, so he kidnaps him and brings him back to Manhattan when the kid thinks Tarzan was killed in a brush fire started by Mr. Evil. Tarzan escapes his brush with death, and when realizing Boy has been snatched the anguished Tarzan and Jane take their playful pet chimp Cheeta with them, as they fly to NYC to rescue their son; that is, after Tarzan buys a custom made suit. Through a helpful club singer (Virginia Grey) friend of Buck’s, Tarzan finds out that Buck had his shady Long Island circus owner pal, Col. Ralph Sergeant (Cy Kendall), post a $5,000 fee to purchase an immigration bond to bring the kid legally into the country and that would enable the villains to be eligible to adopt Boy. Tarzan follows Jane’s advice to let the law work for them, but when that fails in the court custody case for Boy Tarzan follows his jungle instincts and escapes from being locked-up for disorderly conduct in court and flees from NYC’s finest by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge to rescue in time Boy from the Long Island circus owner before they leave the country with the kid.
Comical scenes had the domesticated by jungle standards Tarzan trying to adjust to NYC cabs, hotel showers and the telephone.
REVIEWED ON 8/9/2012 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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