Filmsite Movie Review
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
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Plot Synopsis (continued)

Jane begs her father to let her talk to Tarzan to reach some understanding with him. Harry plans to ambush Tarzan when he appears. As Jane walks into the jungle calling out for Tarzan, Harry prepares to shoot. Jane pleads: "Harry, Harry, you musn't do that, you promised. Harry, let me speak to him!..." Tarzan is wounded and weakened by one of the shots, but manages to escape. The giant ape kidnaps Jane and carries her to Tarzan's tree house.

Bleeding, Tarzan defends himself against a lionness that follows him up a tree, in an exciting sequence. He wrestles the lionness barehanded until he is able to stab it to death. But then he is instantly attacked by another wild animal - a lion. With a desperate jungle call to one of his elephant friends to save him, he is able to scare off the lion and is carried by the elephant to safety. The elephant uses its trunk to draw water and shower him, while Tarzan remains unconscious. The elephant summons Chetah and the apes, and Jane is also alerted. She bandages his forehead with some cloth she tears from her dress. Jane gradually falls in love with Tarzan as she nurses the wounded ape-man back to health.

Later, she tries to clean herself by the river and turns modest when he appears to be peeking:

I wish you'd knock before you enter my boudoir.

As he is slowly healing, she is "not a bit amused" when he over-exerts himself, does acrobatic turns on trees and then dives into the jungle river:

I suppose you know that's going to make your head worse...head - that thick bit under your hair. (He removes his head bandage) No, Tarzan! Tarzan, no! Oh, dear. Well, I really can't make you any more bandages. You'll get dizzy, you'll fall. You'll hurt yourself. Stop it at once.

Fearful that he is drowning, she runs to the water's edge. In a playful extended scene, Tarzan suddenly emerges and grabs her legs - she chastises him, calling him "a nasty little boy" for pulling her in the water. She joins Tarzan for a swim in very brief attire. She flirts with him as he dunks her again and again, and tries to coax him to return her to the bank. The safety of the water's edge turns dangerous when a runaway wildebeest runs at her, and she jumps back into the safety of Tarzan's arms - in the water.

Floating along in the river in his arms, while she plays with his hair, she engages him in a suggestively intimate scene:

Jane: I think you're the most horrible man I ever knew...What color are your eyes? Yes, I know, the color of the forest - gray/green. (She also considers what his magnificent body would look like with clothes.) I wonder what you'd look like dressed. (She chuckles to herself) Pretty good. You'd be a great success in London. And I believe you'd love it.
Tarzan: (he mimics her) Love it.
Jane: Or would you? Women are such fools. They'd spoil you.
Tarzan: Boy.
Jane: (she catches herself and wonders) I don't think you'd better look at me like that?...Far too attractive...I love saying things to a man who can't understand, who doesn't even know what kisses are?
Tarzan: Love it.
Jane: I daresay you would. I think we'd better land. (She gestures toward the shore)

She is deposited on the river bank and races him along the bank, as he quickly swims and beats her back to where they started their floating journey. He deliberately sits on her boots, and then grabs her leg and pulls her down onto the ground, playfully twisting her foot and tickling her. Then he gives her a long, loving, inquisitive look. They compare the sizes of their hands:

Yes, there's quite a difference, isn't there? Do you like that difference? You've never seen anyone like me before, have you?

Tarzan carries her in his arms to the tree house as she embraces him, and the screen fades to black.

As the safari pushes on, Jane remains with Tarzan, spending idyllic days in the trees with him, experiencing a growing affection for him:

Jane: Tarzan, what am I doing here, alone, with you? Perhaps I'd better not think too much about that. Just to be here, to be happy, and I am happy. Not a bit afraid, not a bit sorry. Oh, Tarzan, I wish I could make you understand. Perhaps I can, gradually. Come here. What are we going to do about us?
Tarzan: Us?
Jane: You and I.
Tarzan: You and I.
Jane: Darling, you've got that right.

Tarzan speaks all the vocabulary words he has learned in one sentence:

Tarzan, Jane, hurt me, boy, love it, Jane.

He is interrupted by the sounds of the safari. Jane's father falls exhausted, and the safari group stops to rest. Jane begins to cry, knowing that she must leave Tarzan. She tries to explain to Tarzan that she must say goodbye and go to her father, putting her arms around him. But she can't bear to see the expression on Tarzan's face when she says goodbye. "Oh, Tarzan, Tarzan. Don't look at me, not like that. If you do, I shan't be able to go...Don't you see? Goodbye my dear." Tarzan takes her in his arms and delivers Jane to her father. Tarzan walks away, as Jane calls to him: "Tarzan, Tarzan, don't go! Come with us. We'll all go back together. Tarzan. Tarzan, Tarzan." She can't believe that he doesn't join them. Her father explains in a comforting way: "Jane dear, you belong to us, and he brought you back. Now, you must let him go. He belongs to the jungle." She cries dejectedly: "Not now. He belongs to me. Tarzan!"

Almost immediately, the safari is attacked and captured by a band of savage pygmies. As they are taken away in boats, Jane spots Chetah and commands the chimp to go to Tarzan. Chetah survives a dangerous trip back to Tarzan to alert him. In the meantime, the safari captives are lowered one-by-one into a pit with a giant gorilla.

In the climactic ending, Tarzan comes to their rescue, swimming across a crocodile-infested river to get to them. Tarzan swings rapidly from vine to vine through the jungle and arrives just in time to wrestle with the giant gorilla and kill it with his knife in order to rescue Jane, Jane's father, and Harry. With his loud jungle call and a stampeding herd of elephants which loyally charge to his commands, the elephants wreck the pygmy village.

One of the wounded and dying elephants from the attack leads them through a waterfall to the hidden elephants' graveyard. There, they find hundreds of tusks and elephant skeletons scattered on the ground across an immense plateau. Jane says: "It's beautiful. Solemn and beautiful. We shouldn't be here." But Holt greedily reacts: "It's riches. Millions. Parker, it's true. We knew, didn't we?" Jane's elderly father collapses and dies after attaining his goal. Jane cries hysterically over his body. Parker is buried in the elephant graveyard.

In the film's conclusion, the group retraces its steps back through the waterfall and toward civilization. Jane finds solace in her father's death: "He found what he was looking for. I know that somewhere - wherever the great hunters go - he's happy." Harry tells Jane: "I can't bear to say goodbye like this." She knowingly consoles him: "You'll be coming back, Harry. I can see a huge safari with you at the head bearing ivory down to the coast. Only this time, there'll be no danger. Because we'll be there to protect you every step of the way." Holt kisses her hand in the farewell, and then mounts an elephant for his departure. Jane elects to stay with Tarzan and Chetah, rather than return to civilization with Holt.

In the film's final image, Holt sees Tarzan and Jane in the distance. They are running along the top of some huge boulders, and then standing side by side on a large rock on the hillside waving at him. Chetah joins them. Behind them, the African sun is setting, darkening the cloudy sky. The sound track fades out playing Tschaikovsky's Theme from Romeo and Juliet.

[Note: The film was so popular that a sequel was made and released in 1934, Tarzan and His Mate.]

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