Filmsite Movie Review
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
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Plot Synopsis (continued)

Jane and Tarzan make fast progress ahead of the group to the clearing, swinging trapeze-like from tree to tree, but Jane is teased along the way by Tarzan and complains: "That's no way to treat a lady...Now, fun is fun but..." Quickly, they make it to the clearing, and they rest on the ground next to a tree. Tarzan lovingly puts a flower in Jane's hair. When he leaves to go check on the safari's progress, Jane is threatened by a wild rhinoceros. Tarzan battles the rhino, riding it bareback in an exciting sequence, finally killing it with his knife. In the attack, one of Chetah's parents is killed defending Jane, and little Chetah mourns the death. While Tarzan is giving the animal a proper burial, Jane comforts a grieving Chetah:

There, there Chetah. The hurt will die down. It has to. Otherwise, none of us could stand life.

Unbelievably, at that very moment, Jane is stalked by another wild animal - this time a leopard. To escape, she dives into the river and is instantly pursued by a fearsome 14-ft. crocodile, that twirls underwater and batters her with its tail. In a beautifully-photographed fight sequence, Tarzan wrestles the creature, as it spins in the deep water, until he is finally able to kill it.

Tarzan and Jane return to the safari, and Jane is asked: "Could Tarzan really call more elephants, the whole herd? ("Yes, why?") We could use them as a pack train, carry tons more ivory away." Jane thinks it is a grand idea and tells Tarzan to get more elephants to carry the ivory tusks back with them, explaining their mission: "That's why they're going to the burial ground, to get the ivory to make them rich." But Tarzan objects and is reluctant to reveal the burial grounds of his beloved elephants so that it can be robbed, even though Jane has promised the explorers. Harry wishes that Jane would persuade him to change his mind.

Arlington asks how they found the burial grounds in the first trek. When the unscrupulous Arlington learns that a wounded and dying elephant will instinctively make its way on its own to the burial ground, he devises a plan. Jane is caught in the middle: "I know how you feel but I think I know how he feels too...I had no right to promise for him. Tarzan is the only law here." The white men refuse to be led back to safety by a reluctant Tarzan, and wish to push on independently of him toward the ivory treasure. Arlington deliberately wounds one of the elephants, and Tarzan nearly kills him for his senseless cruelty. Jane announces that she is leaving with Tarzan: "We're leaving. I belong with him."

The safari follows the trail of the moaning, limping, wounded elephant. It leads them straight to the secret waterfall entrance to the burial grounds. Arlington is astonished at the sight of elephant skeletons and tusks strewn everywhere: "Gad, it's like a city paved with gold." But Harry is nervous: "Let's pack out as soon as we can." By nightfall, with torches lit, they are packed with all the native bearers carrying tusks. Suddenly, a line of rampaging elephants enters the burial grounds, incensed at the impending robbery. They are led by Tarzan who rides bareback on one of the lead elephants. Jane accompanies him. She tells Tarzan: "I've got to talk to them first. You must wait."

She pleads with Harry: "Won't you give up this idea?" To Harry's surprise, Arlington agrees to not take the ivory: "Perhaps after all, we are wrong...I realize we're violating something he holds sacred." Arlington asks if they could spend the night in the burial grounds because they are not in any hurry and are dead tired. Jane requests that Tarzan send the uneasy elephants away. Then Jane and Tarzan visit her father's grave, and Jane asks Tarzan to always wear her father's chain on his wrist.

The next morning, Tarzan leaves the burial grounds to go for food - catching fish with his bare hands. Arlington follows him and makes a sinister attack on Tarzan's life - an attempt to shoot and kill him. Tarzan falls from a tree into the river, and is left for dead. (Tarzan is brought to the surface on the back of a hippo to prevent his drowning, and then brought to his ape friends for treatment.)

Later that morning, no trace is found of Tarzan's body. To Jane, Arlington claims that Tarzan fell victim to a crocodile attack, but she refuses to believe he is dead. Tarzan's chain/bracelet is discovered in the water. Jane breaks down while holding it in her hands: "He said always." She drops the chain into the water. Devastated, she requests: "Take me away," believing the worst has happened to her beloved ape man. Chetah notices the entire scene and sees Jane's sorrow, and comes to Tarzan's and Jane's aid. The ape makes the dangerous journey back to where Tarzan is being nursed by the band of concerned apes. Wounded and unconscious, Tarzan receives first-aid and begins to recover.

As the safari leaves the burial grounds carrying the ivory, Harry wonders about Tarzan and his fate: "Strange about that croc! I never would have believed that Tarzan could have been caught off guard." Chetah returns to the safari group and hugs Jane, and attempts to tug Jane to follow him. He makes gestures to communicate what he knows about Tarzan, and Jane suddenly brightens up: "Tarzan's alive...He's alive. Tarzan's alive." Arlington isn't convinced: "Chasing a shadow." Harry volunteers to go with Jane to find Tarzan, but they begin to hear menacing drumbeats.

Suddenly, they are surrounded by attacking natives decorated with tusk-headresses. One by one, the native bearers are dragged off and put to death. They make a break for the protection of an outcropping of rocks, but their precious ammunition box is left behind, impossible to retrieve. Chetah leaves the group to bring Tarzan to the rescue. The ape avoids a charging rhino and pursuing lioness, and floats on a log across a crocodile-infested river to finally reach Tarzan. Tarzan is very weak, but understands that he must save Jane. He gathers his strength and with a loud jungle yell calls all the apes to his side. He also summons his loyal elephant herd.

In the exciting climax, the natives deliberately attract a band of lions that threaten to kill everyone in the safari. Harry dies a valiant death attempting to rescue one of the natives from the lions. As Arlington and Jane face death together, he says:

Arlington: I've always thought when you were faced with death nothing would matter.
Jane: What does?
Arlington: You.

She holds his hand tightly. Arlington dies soon after, falling victim to attacking lions. Jane defends herself against the onslaught of two threatening lions by building a wall of flames when her ammunition runs out.

The action-packed finale is a masterpiece as Tarzan uses the army of elephants and his apes to scare off the attacking natives and lions. He rescues Jane at the last moment by wrestling and killing the two ferocious beasts. The final sequences are an intense series of fast-moving images of charging, roaring, trumpeting, stampeding, torturing, killing, and retreating animals.

The elephants return the tusks to the burial ground, as Jane and Tarzan ride together. Tarzan points to his wrist, referring to her father's chain/bracelet: "Always gone." Jane promises Tarzan that they will be together and happy for a long time:

No, dear, always is just beginning for you and me.

A peaceful line of elephants moving along is seen in the final image.

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