Tarzan and His Mate (1934)

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Released 16-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1934
Running Time 99:49
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Cedric Gibbons
Jack Conway
James C. McKay
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Johnny Weissmuller
Maureen O'Sullivan
Neil Hamilton
Paul Cavanagh
Forrester Harvey
Nathan Curry
Case ?
RPI Box Music William Axt
Paul Marquardt
George Richelavie


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
German
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Romanian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton) returns to Africa, partly in order to seek out the elephants' graveyard and partly to see Jane again. This time he is accompanied by his friend Arlington (Paul Cavanagh). After managing to avoid being killed by natives at the base of the Mutia Escarpment, they are rescued by Tarzan. But when they reveal their plan to steal the ivory from the graveyard, Tarzan refuses to help them. Arlington shoots an elephant so they can follow it to the graveyard, but Tarzan and a bunch of elephants foil their plan. Arlington decides that Tarzan must be removed from the equation.

    This film was released in 1934, two months before the Production Code started to be properly enforced. You can see that this is a pre-Code film in the first ten minutes, with a topless female native and Arlington stripping down for a bath, with only a carefully positioned trunk to protect his modesty. Jane wears a very skimpy jungle outfit, swims in the nude (though Maureen O'Sullivan is body-doubled by Olympian Josephine McKim in this sequence) and, well, Tarzan's reaction to her dressing in European clothes and wearing perfume is very amusing. None of this would have been allowed to pass the censor a few months later, and indeed the film was heavily cut even on initial release. The original negative was cut, and the original version of the film was thought lost until a print was found in the MGM archive a few years ago.

    The directorial credit went to the famous MGM art director Cedric Gibbons, but little of his contribution remains in the finished film. Shooting was suspended after three weeks and Gibbons was removed, as were several of the actors. Shooting resumed with Jack Conway and James McKay directing.

    There are some remarkable sequences in the film. Apart from the nude underwater swimming sequence, Tarzan fights with a giant mechanical crocodile, and there is a remarkable closing scene involving elephants and lions. The animal work in this film is extraordinary.

    In my opinion, this is not just the best of the MGM Tarzan films, it is the best Tarzan of them all. The script is carefully worked out with plenty of humour mixed in with the thrills, the performances are excellent, and it builds to an ending that is simply amazing. It comes on a three disc set of the complete MGM series.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is, despite the cover saying it is in the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, presented at 1.35:1. There is a slight black border at the base of the frame. It is not 16x9 enhanced, though the menus are.

    The video quality of the film is very good, though not up to the standards of the later films. This is partly due to the material coming from several sources, and also the age of the film. While generally sharp, much of it is a little soft. The stock footage is particularly grainy.

    Contrast levels are good, though there is some variation from frame to frame causing mild flickering. Also good is the greyscale of the film, which looks just about right.

    I did not notice any film to video artefacts, apart from some telecine wobble during the opening credits. Film artefacts are prevalent, with occasional damage, scratches and flecks, and there is a lot of grain, but this film has been properly restored and looks very good.

    The film comes on one side of a single-layered, dual-sided disc, so there is no layer change. For some reason the film on the other side of this disc is the fourth in the series. I have no idea why this film would not be side B of disc 1.

    Optional English subtitles are provided. These are in a clear white font and are quite readable. The native lingo is not shown in the subtitles. The spelling of Mutia seems to have been corrected from that of the first film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The default audio track is English Dolby Digital 1.0.

    This is a pretty good audio transfer, with a little hiss which is mainly inaudible at normal viewing levels. The higher frequencies are quite thin, and there is some congestion during passages with more complex sounds. There is a good amount of bass present. Audio sync seems perfect.

    I did not notice much in the way of music during the film, apart from the opening credits (the music score is not credited). It has a stereotypical African feel to it. There is some good use of actual African tribal chants.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    No extras are provided on this disc.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release has an additional disc, which includes the following extras:

    Region 1 is a clear winner on the extras count.

Summary

    A superb sequel.

    The video and audio are very good though not ideal.

    It is a pity that the extras available in Region 1 are not included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, December 31, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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