Mr. Cloudy's Shelter
A Place to Listen and be Heard

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Tarzan - 1932

I watched the 1932 Tarzan movie with Johnny Weissmuller. When I was a kid I watched Tarzan movies and Godzilla movies whenever they were on. So it was a journey back in time. I probably haven't seen one of the Weissmuller versions for over 30 years. So I was curious whether it would really just seem hokey - like when my son and I once watched a late Godzilla movie and he laughed.

I think the film is actually pretty well done. You can tell some of the tricks they did (like having trapeze bars for Tarzan to swing from and superimposing images onto another image. But considering this was done a year before King Kong, I think it holds up well. I had fun watching it - maybe it was the childhood connection. They really did some work to get the wildlife footage they had.

Racism is an issue - the film could make for some interesting discussions on this point. Jane's father and companion speak of the white man's superiority. And of course Tarzan is white himself - who else to tame the jungle than the white man?

At the same time there is some respect given to the native customs - and it must have been an interesting cultural experience, especially at the time, to see the various tribes dancing and singing. And ultimately Jane submits to the wild while her father who seeks to plunder its riches, even if it means violating what the natives consider taboo, dies in the attempt.

I see it is rated 7.2 on IMDB, so apparently I am not alone in my surprise that as an adult it seemed a pretty decent movie, and quite an accomplishment in its era.

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