Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)

81 mins | Adventure | 16 June 1939

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writer:

Cyril Hume

Producer:

Sam Zimbalist

Cinematographer:

Leonard Smith

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Tarzan in Exile . It was also reviewed as Tarzan Finds A Son! According to news items in HR , the underwater scenes were shot at Crystal Springs and Silver Springs, Florida, and additional location shots were filmed at Ocala, Florida. Other items in HR note that the elephants featured in the stampede scene were provided by the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and the film's shooting schedule was modified to allow star Maureen O'Sullivan, who was pregnant at the time, to finish shooting before her condition prevented her from doing so. The studio originally wanted to replace O'Sullivan because of her pregnancy, but exhibitors insisted that she reprise her role as "Jane." Also, according to studio records, in the original screenplay for the film, "Jane" is hit in the back by a spear while rescuing "Boy", and she dies soon after Tarzan finds her. In a letter to an M-G-M official dated 6 Jan 1939, Edgar Rice Burroughs stated that he regretted the killing of Jane in the screenplay and feared that the ending would have a bad result at the box-office. An "alternate ending," which corresponds to the ending used in the final film, is included in a screenplay dated 31 Jan 1939. Modern sources state that the first ending was shot and previewed, and that audiences disapproved of "Jane's" death. For additional information on M-G-M's "Tarzan" series, consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Tarzan, the Ape Man ... More Less

The working title of this film was Tarzan in Exile . It was also reviewed as Tarzan Finds A Son! According to news items in HR , the underwater scenes were shot at Crystal Springs and Silver Springs, Florida, and additional location shots were filmed at Ocala, Florida. Other items in HR note that the elephants featured in the stampede scene were provided by the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and the film's shooting schedule was modified to allow star Maureen O'Sullivan, who was pregnant at the time, to finish shooting before her condition prevented her from doing so. The studio originally wanted to replace O'Sullivan because of her pregnancy, but exhibitors insisted that she reprise her role as "Jane." Also, according to studio records, in the original screenplay for the film, "Jane" is hit in the back by a spear while rescuing "Boy", and she dies soon after Tarzan finds her. In a letter to an M-G-M official dated 6 Jan 1939, Edgar Rice Burroughs stated that he regretted the killing of Jane in the screenplay and feared that the ending would have a bad result at the box-office. An "alternate ending," which corresponds to the ending used in the final film, is included in a screenplay dated 31 Jan 1939. Modern sources state that the first ending was shot and previewed, and that audiences disapproved of "Jane's" death. For additional information on M-G-M's "Tarzan" series, consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Tarzan, the Ape Man . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
7 Jun 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jan 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 39
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Feb 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 39
p. 3.
Life
26 Jun 39
pp. 64-67.
Motion Picture Daily
31 May 39
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
18 Feb 39
p. 18.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Jun 39
p. 38.
New York Times
15 Jun 39
p. 27.
Variety
31 May 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set des
SOUND
Rec dir
STAND INS
Voice double for Tarzan cry
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Tarzan in Exile
Release Date:
16 June 1939
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 15 June 1939
Production Date:
began 9 January 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 June 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8906
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
sepia
Duration(in mins):
81
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5299
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When the plane carrying Richard Lancing and his family crashes over the African jungle, the lone survivor is Lancing's infant son, whom jungle inhabitants Tarzan and Jane find and rear as their own. Five years after they find the child, whom they call "Boy," Jane is just beginning to realize that the jungle is a dangerous place in which to rear a mischevious boy when a safari led by Sir Thomas Lancing arrives in search of his missing relatives. After finding the plane wreckage, Sir Thomas insists upon continuing the search, although his greedy cousin Austin, who stands to inherit half the vast Lancing estate once Richard is declared dead, is content to accept Jane's explanation that Richard, his wife and child perished in the crash. Sir Thomas is unconvinced, however, and when he notices the resemblance between Boy and the Lancing family, Austin and his snooty wife propose that they take the boy as their ward, thus ensuring their control over the Lancing estate. When Thomas objects, Austin orders him held prisoner and convinces Jane to give the boy up. Going against Tarzan's wishes, Jane traps him in a grotto and brings the boy to the Lancings. As Jane leads the expedition through the jungle, Thomas warns Jane of Boy's danger, but Austin kills him before he can go for help. Soon after, the expedition is captured by a band of savage cannibals and Jane risks her own life so that Boy can escape. Boy survives the perils of the jungle to free Tarzan, and they return with an army of elephants to trample the cannibal village. Tarzan then forgives ... +


When the plane carrying Richard Lancing and his family crashes over the African jungle, the lone survivor is Lancing's infant son, whom jungle inhabitants Tarzan and Jane find and rear as their own. Five years after they find the child, whom they call "Boy," Jane is just beginning to realize that the jungle is a dangerous place in which to rear a mischevious boy when a safari led by Sir Thomas Lancing arrives in search of his missing relatives. After finding the plane wreckage, Sir Thomas insists upon continuing the search, although his greedy cousin Austin, who stands to inherit half the vast Lancing estate once Richard is declared dead, is content to accept Jane's explanation that Richard, his wife and child perished in the crash. Sir Thomas is unconvinced, however, and when he notices the resemblance between Boy and the Lancing family, Austin and his snooty wife propose that they take the boy as their ward, thus ensuring their control over the Lancing estate. When Thomas objects, Austin orders him held prisoner and convinces Jane to give the boy up. Going against Tarzan's wishes, Jane traps him in a grotto and brings the boy to the Lancings. As Jane leads the expedition through the jungle, Thomas warns Jane of Boy's danger, but Austin kills him before he can go for help. Soon after, the expedition is captured by a band of savage cannibals and Jane risks her own life so that Boy can escape. Boy survives the perils of the jungle to free Tarzan, and they return with an army of elephants to trample the cannibal village. Tarzan then forgives Jane, and the reunited family returns home. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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