Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


John Sheffield and Johnny Weissmuller
TARZAN FINDS A SON! (1939). Director: Richard Thorpe.

A young couple (Laraine Day; Morton Lowry) are killed in a plane crash in Africa but their infant son survives, and is in essence adopted by Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) and Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan), who simply call him "Boy" (John/Johnny Sheffield). Greedy relatives August Lancing (Ian Hunter of The Sisters) and his wife (Freida Inescort), along with their Uncle Thomas (Henry Stephenson of Red-Headed Woman), and guide Sande (Henry Wilcoxon of Cleopatra), come to the Dark Continent to see if they can find any trace of the family, with the Lancings, of course, hoping they don't, for reasons to do with inheritances. Meeting Boy, Thomas suspects the truth, and Jane and Tarzan argue about whether or not to let Boy go back to claim his heritage. But August Lancing's duplicitous and evil mind, as well as a deadly native tribe called the Zembeles, may make it all moot. Tarzan Finds a Son! is a very entertaining Tarzan adventure, with very good performances from all, including a charming Sheffield, and many exciting scenes. There are more wild life shots than usual, as well as some excellent underwater sequences, especially one in which Tarzan and Boy go swimming with a baby elephant. Tarzan has a struggle with a kind of boar-hippo creature that nearly tramples Boy at one point. The Zembeles, who figure in the climax, don't just shrink heads, but entire bodies, in a process that isn't clearly delineated but seems rather frightful. Jane refers to Tarzan as her husband for, I believe, the first time. The movie has hardly any music, which would have added to its already considerable appeal.

Verdict: One of the better Tarzan adventures. ***.


angelman66 said...

Of course, this really is one of the best also, with the arrival of Boy...exciting plot, too.
I hope TCM does a marathon of these! Maybe some are available On Demand (I do not have Netflix...YET)

William said...

Netflix may not have these. Whenever I look up an old film and find it, and I think "ah ha" and add it to my queue, it's only added to the list as "unavailable."