Cast and Credits
Bert Nelson, Louis Roth, the Flying Codonas,
Running Time: 116 minutes at preview (105 minutes in general release)
Copyright Date: April. 13, 1934;
Renewed April. 14, 1961
Completed late March 1934
Released April 20, 1934
First showing in Canada: June 8, 1934
Tarzan et sa compagne [Fr]
Tarzans Vergeltung [Gr]
Tarzan e la compagna [It]
A Companheira de Tarzan [Pg]
Tarzán y su compañera [Sp]
Harry Holt and his ne'er-do-well friend and womanizer, Martin Arlington, leave on a trip to recover a cache of ivory atop the Mutia Escarpment, the domain of Tarzan.
When Tarzan learns that the two men wish to loot the elephant's graveyard, he will have nothing to do with it; so Martin shoots an elephant so it can act as an instinctive guide. Only Jane's intervention prevents Tarzan from killing Martin.
But Martin's attempt to remove the ivory is thwarted when Tarzan appears with a herd of elephants. Martin feigns repentance, and promises to leave the next day without the ivory.
Early the next morning, Martin attempts to kill Tarzan, and Jane thinking him dead, decides to return to civilization. But they are attacked by lion men, who summon lions to help them kill the members of the safari. Both Martin and Holt are killed, and Jane is in danger from lions.
Then, Tarzan and an army of apes and elephants arrive in time to rout both the lion men and the lions, after which they return the ivory to the elephants' graveyard.
Peace is once again restored to the jungle!
“They ripped the cover of Captain Kidd's treasure for this one... and it's worth it!” The exaggerated slogan did make one thing clear: with Sol Lesser's producing a Tarzan film, MGM wanted to use every means at its disposal to dwarf it at the Box Office.
Discussions between Edgar Rice Burroughs’ representative, Ralph Rothmund and MGM executives, Irving Thalberg and Sam Marx, had begun in March 1932, and a new contract was signed in May of that year for a second Tarzan feature, with an option for a further two.
Burroughs’ compensation this time would be $45,000. Also in May, Burroughs contacted Bernie Hyman about the splendid results of the initial Tarzan feature, and his suggestion that Tarzan films be released as seasonal events.
The early drafts of the sequel planned for an African expedition, but this never materialized. But two big production elements were scheduled: a fight with a huge mechanical crocodile, and a spectacular jungle fire. The fire sequence was discarded before shooting began.
The screenplay went through several forms before the producers were satisfied. From June 1932 to January 1933, Bud Barsky, Arthur Hyman and C. Gardner Sullivan worked on a first version of the script. Then story conferences were held in March 33 with Leon Gordon, author of White Cargo, Bernie Hyman, supervising art director, Cedric Gibbons and production manager, Joe Cohn. By May 1933, a dialogue continuity by Howard Emmett Rogers was completed. This and earlier script and conference ideas became the basis for the various drafts of the eventual screenplay credited to James Kevin McGuinness.
Filming began on August 2, 1933, at which time Cedric Gibbons was given directorial responsibility of the first unit.
The original cast included Rod La Rocque, Murray Kinnell and Frank Reicher. After 3½ weeks of shooting, the first unit shut down, and when it resumed, Gibbons was no longer the director. In his place was Jack Conway as dialogue director with James McKay directing a number of the animal sequences. Maureen O'Sullivan's recollection is that McKay directed most of the film. Gibbons, however, retained screen credit as director.
Gibbon's replacement is perhaps understandable. As the head of MGM's art department, his additional responsibility as main director was taxing to say the least, and moreover, the initial costs were spiralling. The substitution of the actors is more puzzling, and no one connected with the film seemed to know why it was done. One spurious claim was that La Rocque's voice was deemed unsuitable for the role. Perhaps he could not imitate a credible English accent.
In the doubling department, the Codonas and the Picchiani troupe once again swung through the trees or cavorted enthusiastically like apes. Former Olympic swimmer, Josephine McKim doubled for Maureen O'Sullivan, who was not a very strong swimmer. She also doubled for the near-nude shots that were to incur the displeasure of the Hays Office at an MGM preview.
Bert Nelson and two of his lions, Margie and Pasha, had significant scenes, as did Betty Roth, wife of lion owner Louis Roth, substituting for O'Sullivan in some close contact scenes with lions near the film’s conclusion.
Among the other animals making their first appearance were Yama and Jiggs, alternating as the young Cheta. It is Jiggs we see crawling across the savannah to avoid being seen. Mary, a “rideable” rhino, was imported by Emerson from Germany. He did most of the riding, although Weissmuller is said to have hopped aboard as well for some less demanding shots, but most of his shots were on a dummy.
When the Men-Who-Eat-Lions summoned the felines to devour the staked-out Saadi, it was Louis Roth, six assistant trainers, and thirty-eight lions who were called upon to do the histrionic honours. For one shot, the entire pride was run into an enclosure measuring 300 square feet. Tarzan was attacking the natives and tossing them out of the trees to the lions below.
Pieces of meat had been attached to stakes driven into the ground, and when the dummy natives began dropping from the trees to fall among the lions, it appeared that the lions, chewing the meat on the stakes, were devouring the men.
As an interesting side note, when the director felt he had enough footage, he called out: “Enough! Take 'em away! We need this set for another shot right away.” So Louis Roth stepped in the enclosure and drove the lions away from the half-consumed meat, to the astonishment of the people standing about. Everyone had thought that such a tactic would have disastrous consequences, but Roth had no trouble at all.
Perhaps the highlight of the action sequences occurs with the elephants vs. lions battle. Travelling matte shots were used to depict lions leaping up and holding on to elephants, who then seized them with their trunks and hurled them down, or crushed them beneath their huge feet. And another scene involving the elephants was the brain child of production manager Joe Cohn. For it, miniature elephants were constructed with movable trunks. They were projected behind Tarzan and Jane and the real elephants, as the herd arrives at the Elephants Graveyard to prevent Martin and Holt from leaving with the ivory.
The melody “My Tender One,” written by Dr. William Axt for the film Eskimo (33) made its first appearance at the film’s conclusion, and would be used for the next three films as well.
The filming was not completed until the end of March 1934, because of retakes, and additional material involving Jane — doubled by Betty Roth — and Tarzan, O’Sullivan being absent for over a month recovering from an appendectomy. The final cost of the film was listed at $1,279,142.
MGM had still other hurdles to vanquish, however. The Censors, headed by Joseph Breen, went to work demanding cuts they viewed as lascivious or gruesome. MGM took the matter before arbitration, but lost out. And when the New York Censors previewed the film, they insisted that the scene involving Cavanagh lowering his nude body into a portable bathtub be eliminated as well.
As a result, three different versions were sent out to various states, and abroad. This too was a violation of the code, and MGM eventually edited out the offending scenes from their studio negative. It wasn’t until Ted Turner took over the MGM film library that a positive print of the original film was discovered in the vaults. The restored version has since been shown in theatres, and is the one released to the home video market.
A trade preview in April convinced MGM to reduce the film even more, and when it opened later in the month in New York, it was considered by many to be better than the previous film, although it did not earn as much money in the U.S.A. Internationally, it was a huge success, despite the fact that it was banned in Germany by the National Socialist Party, under Hitler, on the grounds that it showed a Nordic man in brutal surroundings. How ironic!
Paul Cavanagh, who played the impoverished womanizer Martin, was born in Chiselhurst, Kent, England on December 8, 1895. He was educated at schools in Newcastle and Cambridge University. He served with a Canadian battalion in World War I and saw service at the front. From there he went on stage in London in 1924 in It Pays to Advertise, appearing on stage until 1929,.Then he left for America for his first picture The Circle. His presence in a film, whether as villain or nice guy, was always welcome. Even as a younger man, he could play the lover or the father. When television boomed, he did not hesitate to be part of it. He even returned to work with Johnny Weissmuller as Commissioner Morrison in the Jungle Jim TV series.
He passed away in 1964.
Doris Lloyd had apparently been engaged to reprise her role as Mrs. Cutten, but she does not appear in the released version. Since photographs of her were taken for this film, it must be assumed that she appeared in the original takes which were not used when the new actors were hired and filming resumed.
And if one can believe the plot summary in the Big Little Books, the ending to Tarzan and His Mate was originally different from the one that was ultimately released. According to the book, when the Lion-Men appear, Holt dies taking a spear meant for Jane, and Martin is killed by an elephant as he tries to shoot Tarzan. This ending would have been just as acceptable to the public.
Tarzan and His Mate stands as the pinnacle of Tarzan films for most fans, even today.
The New York Times
Having apparently dwelt in the jungle since they first met in "Tarzan, the Ape Man," Johnny Weissmuller, the swimming ace, and the comely Irish colleen, Maureen O'Sullivan, are now to be seen at the Capitol in a sequel to their first adventure. The current offering, which is hailed as " Tarzan and His Mate," is, if anything, even more fantastic than its predecessor. One gathers that the first year of Tarzan and Jane Parker (Miss O'Sullivan) in the African wilds has been a happy one, that they have made many friends among apes and elephants and that they have dozens of arboreal abodes.
Harry Holt and Martin Arlington are companions on an expedition. Holt hopes to win back his sweetheart, Jane, but Arlington's only wish is to bring back plenty of ivory. It seems to be no more difficult to find Tarzan and Jane than it is to locate Times Square in Manhattan. Jane's wardrobe is limited and the very thoughtful Holt has brought with him trunks filled with many gowns and frocks, some of which are not precisely suited to leaping from tree to tree as Tarzan and his mate do. Perfume and various other gifts to appeal to the feminine taste are brought by the love-lorn Holt.
Tarzan does not think much of the perfume and even less of a silk gown. He is a man of the forest, an emperor, so to speak, of the jungle, who likes to get his breakfast by diving into a pool and bringing forth a fish. Coffee has a peculiarly distasteful flavor to him. He does, however, cherish his hunting knife, for with it he has laid low many jungle outlaws, such as lions, tigers, leopards, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and so forth.
It does not even take Tarzan's breath away to have a set-to in the water with a crocodile, and Jane expects him to emerge from the fray victorious, as he does at all times. Here he rides astride rhinoceros and has encounters with a variety of animals. It is all in a day's work! He even expects Jane to be as agile as he is, seeing to it that she does her daily dozen, in the shape of springing from branch to branch and taking headers into lakes. Tarzan is no easy person to please. He speaks only an occasional word, and even then he gets mixed up, which is apt to make one conclude that there must be days that pall upon Jane. Yet she prefers the jungle to Mayfair.
They yowl to each other and cover distance far quicker via the tress than they could on the ground. In case there should not be enough excitement furnished by jungle fauna and the villainous Arlington, who, be it known, would do anything for a couple of hundred ivory tusks, there is a host of savages, evidently of two different tribes. These natives are quite expert with their spears and arrows.
Aside from the wild tale, this film is a marvel from a photographic standpoint. Tarzan has his hand to hand encounters with leopards, hippopotamuses and other beasts, and Jane has anything but a merry time with several lions. Some of them are evidently riddled with bullets, but just when one may think that the beasts' teeth have been extracted and that their mouths are wired, one perceives Tarzan's arm in a lion's jaw equipped with splendid white teeth. In another instance one perceives an elephant limping along and finally lying down to die in a spot known as "the elephants' burial ground." This provoked from a young lass: "Oh, the poor lamb!" Just got her animals mixed, but her sympathy was sincere.
Needless to say that Miss O'Sullivan and Mr. Weissmuller acquit themselves in the same favorable fashion they did in their former hectic experiences.
From Time Magazine
[The sequel] contains no implication that Tarzan... and Jane Parker... have been married. They are living together in natural frivolity, ignoring the precepts of Tsar Hays and obeying no civilized conventions except, perhaps, those of birth control...
A wild, disgraceful, highly
entertaining orgy of comic, sensual and sadistic nonsense, Tarzan
and His Mate was brilliantly
directed by Cedric Gibbons, and acted with vigor by Weissmuller and O'Sullivan.
It may be silly, but it continues to be fascinating, this "Tarzan" theme. In "Tarzan and His Mate," second of the Metro series with Johnny Weissmuller, the monkeys do everything but bake cakes and the very human elephants always seem on the verge of sitting down for a nice quiet game of chess; yet the picture has a strange sort of power that overcomes the total lack of logic and (probably most important) it is an extraordinarily beautiful photographic specimen. Picture will doubtless draw business.
Tarzan No. 1 ended with Tarz and the white girl from England at peace in their jungle kingdom. They're again at peace as No. 2 ends, but in the 92 minutes between the two fade-outs they're almost in pieces, several times. Trouble starts soon as the domain of Mr. and Mrs. Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan) is trespassed upon by Neil Hamilton and Paul Cavanagh, a couple of Miss O'Sullivan's heels from Mayfair. Boys after the fortune in ivory which lies in a pachyderm graveyard.
There are gory battles between bands of natives to liven up the proceedings when Tarzan isn't fighting some jungle beast that is just about to devour his mate. Tarz's stiffest encounters are with a horned rhinoceros and a giant alligator, respectively. His encounter with the rhino is obviously phoney and seemingly impossible, but so well done that it provides a real thrill. The underwater battle with the 'gator supplies a big kick also. Tarz's hand-to-paw grappling with lions are, in comparison, just child's play even when one lion is close-upped with Tarzan's arm in his kisser, and the long teeth showing. Miraculously, when the arm is withdrawn it bears nary a scratch. But such slight discrepancies are easily overlooked, since it's granted that Tarz is a cinch bet in all matches, despite that he always gives away at least two or three tons in weight.
But for a white man's bullet, Tarz is just another sucker. He is temporarily felled by a slug tossed at him by Cavanagh, who at first can't make up his mind whether he wants the ivory or Mrs. Tarzan, and then decides he wants both. In this animal picture, Cavanagh represents the species skunk.
Apes of both the genuine and prop variety play a large part in the picture. One of the real ones, called Cheta, does messenger service for Tarz whenever the missus is in danger, such as the identical pair of lions that a few moments before had made a meal of Cavanagh and Hamilton.
Tarzan and his mate spend most of their time swinging through the branches. Film goes so far as to stage a regulation flying act, with Tarz tossing Mrs. Tarz into an aerial loop, to be caught by the outstretched arms of an ape. The Tarzans also do some fancy swimming, particularly during a tank sequence when Weissmuller and a lady swimmer doubling for Miss O'Sullivan, perform some artistic submarine formations. The lady is brassiereless but photographed from the side only. Weissmuller duplicates his first Tarzan performance, which means the girls will probably go strong for him again. Miss O'Sullivan, never wearing much in the way of clothes, isn't bad to look at from the masculine viewpoint.
The Culver City jungle and studio exteriors were so constructed as to look like the real thing. In every technical department, the picture is first grade.