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

Thursday, May 4, 2017


Herman Brix aka Bruce Bennett with deer
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF TARZAN (1935). Director: Edward A. Kull.

Major Martling (Frank Baker) is desperate to find a Mayan artifact called the "Green Goddess" because (somehow) it contains a formula for an incredibly deadly explosive. Also looking for this formula is the corrupt Raglan (Ashton Dearholt aka Don Castello). Following Raglan is a woman named Ula Vale (Ula Holt), whose fiance's plane crashed in South America. Tarzan decides to go with Martling's party because his friend D'Arnot (uncredited), who helped him discover his origins as Lord Greystoke, has also gone missing in the jungles of Guatemala. Accompanied by Martling; the major's daughter, Alice (Dale Walsh); her fiance, Gordon (Harry Ernest); and George (Lewis Sargent), a bumbling guy who hero-worships the Ape-Man, Tarzan sets off for a new adventure in Guatemala. Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs formed his own production company with Ashton Dearholt, who cast himself as Raglan and his girlfriend as Ula. The serial was actually filmed in Guatemala, giving it a certain verisimilitude in particular sequences. Brix/Bennett is good as an educated Tarzan, as in Burroughs' novels. The first chapter, which is 41 minutes long, features a terrific sequence in which Alice is suspended over a tiger pit just as the rope begins to shred, while the cliffhanger has most of the cast about to be thrown to ravenous gators as a knife plunges towards Tarzan's chest. Chapter ten boasts a suspenseful sequence with Tarzan trapped in a chamber with a lion whose bonds are beginning to break, as well as the amazing battle between Tarzan and said lion. Chapter eleven has an exciting storm-at-sea sequence. Chapter 12, the final chapter, has a fortune teller showing long sequences from earlier chapters in her crystal ball after the main story line has been wrapped up. Tarzan is given a brand new yell that is distinct from Weissmuller's and quite a bit more high-pitched. Jiggs, who played Cheetah the chimp in the Weissmuller films, portrays N'kima -- and is similarly smart and adorable -- in this. Jane does not appear in the serial. The characters of Alice and Gordon are shipped home halfway through the chapterplay, making one wonder why they were even included in the first place. As the comedy relief, Lewis Sargent becomes quite irritating at times. A feature-length version of this serial (mostly with footage from the first few chapters as well as some new footage) was released as Tarzan and the Green Goddess. Sometimes it was referred to as a sequel to New Adventures, but it isn't.

Verdict: This is not a bad serial that could use remastering. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - was not aware that Bruce Bennett played Tarzan. I am most familiar with him as Mildred Pierce's first husband. He was very good looking, though, will check this out if I have the chance!
- Chris

William said...

I think Bennett became embarrassed by his playing Tarzan and changed his screen name quickly to mixed success. he did have a long career, though.