White hunters visit the remote jungle home of Tarzan and Jan, still hoping to loot the elephants graveyard.
MGM’s sequel to Tarzan the Ape Man is on a grander, richer scale, with a frenzy of the violent and sexual business which would soon be wiped off American screens by the coming of the Hays Code. Tarzan and Jane are clearly a couple – she calls herself his ‘wife’, without benefit of clergy but with much near-naked canoodling in scenes of extraordinary intimacy between lithe O’Sullivan and the muscular Weissmuller. The pair take a lengthy underwater swim, in which O’Sullivan’s double appears nude, and are literally unable to keep their hands off each other – a relationship made all the more intriguing by the fact that Jane is Tarzan’s surrogate mother as much as she is his lover, protecting this natural innocent from the corrupt ways of the world.
As usual, a safari from the outside world into this idyll means trouble, with a villain who leches after Jane and casually murders his own bearers in order to get to that fortune in ivory – among the most perfidious acts in the cinema comes when Tarzan refuses to lead him to the elephants’ graveyard so he fatally wounds a nearby bigears and follows the limping beast’s trail. Animals attack every five minutes or so, and are seen off by Tarzan – an exciting alligator fight would crop up in many subsequent sequels.
After this, the series got tamer, especially with the arrival of Boy in Tarzan Finds a Son and the Hays Code insisting O’Sullivan wear something more decent. O’Sullivan lasted as long as the fish-out-of-water Tarzan’s New York Adventure, but Weissmuller stayed in the loincloth, shifting studios to RKO, to tackle Nazis, dinosaurs, Leopard Men and Amazons into the 1940s, then ceded the role to Lex Barker, Gordon Scott and others.
Engaging and surprisingly sexy and raw for its time with luscious production values.