Tarzan Escapes (1936)

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Released 16-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1936
Running Time 85:45
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Richard Thorpe

Warner Home Video
Starring Johnny Weissmuller
Maureen O'Sullivan
John Buckler
Benita Hume
William Henry
Herbert Mundin
E. E. Clive
Darby Jones
Johnny Eck
Case ?
RPI Box Music William Axt
Sol Levy

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
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

    The third entry in MGM's Tarzan series reveals that Jane has inherited a fortune, which will be shared with her cousins. This prompts the two cousins (Benita Hume, William Henry) to travel to Africa to try to find Jane and get her to return to England. In this they are helped by trapper Captain Fry (John Buckler), who wants to snare the "white ape" (Tarzan) for his circus. Jane decides to help her cousins, but she must tell Tarzan that she is going away for three months, and he doesn't understand. Meanwhile, Fry turns out to be a real blighter.

    This third episode of the Tarzan films has a slightly more articulate Tarzan, though he still spouts concepts like "guns bad". The treehouse has undergone some dramatic changes, with the addition of an elevator, air conditioning and a full kitchen. Herbert Mundin as Rawlins starts out as the comedy relief, but he is overtaken by Cheta, who is now the focus of a lot of the hi-jinks. This film also has the jarring episode where Rawlins sees the Gooney Bird, played by the legless Johnny Eck, the half-boy from Freaks.

    The problems with the film began when children in preview audiences were scared by a sequence involving giant bats. This scene had to be cut, which led to original director James McKay refusing to be involved with the reshooting. Richard Thorpe was brought in, and he would direct all of the remaining MGM Tarzan films. The film was almost completely reshot.

    This was the last film completed by legendary producer Irving G. Thalberg, who died shortly after filming ended. John Buckler, the bad guy in this film, was killed in a car accident just a week before the film was released. Herbert Mundin, whose scenes were added in the reshooting, was also killed in a car accident three years later. Jinx rumours have naturally formed.

    Due to the reshooting, the film does not hang together as well as it should. Stock footage abounds, including sequences from earlier films in the series. Despite this, and despite the obvious formulaic plot, it is still an entertaining entry in the Tarzan oeuvre. Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan would appear together in three more films, all of which are included in The Tarzan Collection.

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Transfer Quality


    The film, despite the claims on the cover, is not presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, but in 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The film gets a surprisingly good transfer for a 1936 film, which helps to mitigate against the fact that it has not been restored. There is a mix of newly shot footage and stock footage. The former is sharp and clear, with a lot of detail visible. Shadow detail is very good. Contrast levels are just about right for a black and white film, with a nice range of greys visible. Black levels are nicely solid with no hint of low level noise. The stock footage is quite soft and has more film artefacts visible.

    There is basically nothing in the way of transfer problems, apart from some telecine wobble visible during the opening credits and the occasional slight shimmer of aliasing. Film artefacts are present throughout most of the running time. These are mainly white flecks, dirt and pale scratches, though there are reel change markings at 19:59 and 39:22. There is a flurry of scratches at 21:50 and a severe splice mark at 49:05.

    The optional English subtitles are reasonably accurate to the dialogue, and are well timed in a clear white font. The characters have a dark border so that they are visible against white backgrounds. The made-up jungle lingo is not subtitled.

    The film comes on a single-layer, dual-sided disc with Tarzan the Ape Man on side A. Why the discs are not set out in chronological order is a mystery.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The default audio track is English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono, and there are alternative Italian and French audio tracks. I listened to the default track only.

    Dialogue is clear and distinct throughout. There is no audible hiss or distortion on the soundtrack, and although the frequency range is lacking, the audio is perfectly acceptable for a film of this era.

    The music score is much like the previous films, with no original score composed for this entry, and using just stock African-style music from the studio library.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    No extras are provided on this disc.

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.


    A fine if choppy entry in the series.

    The video and audio are good though not fully restored.

    A pity that the extras available in Region 1 are not included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Monday, January 03, 2005
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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