Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942)

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Released 16-Nov-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1942
Running Time 67:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Richard Thorpe
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Johnny Weissmuller
Maureen O'Sullivan
Johnny Sheffield
Charles Bickford
Paul Kelly
Chill Wills
Virginia Grey
Russell Hicks
Hobart Cavanaugh
Miles Mander
Charles Lane
Cy Kendall
Case ?
RPI Box Music David Snell


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

    This final entry in the MGM series has Boy kidnapped by one of the owners of a circus, who spirits him to New York. Tarzan and Jane (and Cheta) follow, which allows for much fish-out-of-water humour involving Tarzan getting a suit and Cheta creating more havoc than that giant gorilla did a decade earlier.

    This time the guest stars are Charles Bickford, Paul Kelly and Chill Wills. Bickford looked to be a major star in the early 1930s, but his outspoken attitude led to his relegation to minor leads and supporting roles, often as villains as in this film. Paul Kelly started as a child actor in the 1910s, and spent several years in prison in the 1930s for manslaughter. He killed his girlfriend's husband in a fistfight. She also served time, but they were married upon release and lived happily ever after, or at least until she was killed in a car accident nine years later. Kelly's hair would go prematurely white before his early death, not surprisingly. Virginia Grey plays his girlfriend. If Chill Wills sounds like he has an equine voice, there's a reason: he was the voice of Francis the Talking Mule.

    With the action moving from the jungle to "civilisation", MGM had the chance to use a lot of character actors in bit roles. Miles Mander appears as the official who helps Tarzan and Jane get a plane to America, Hobart Cavanaugh plays the hotel clerk menaced by Cheta, and Mantan Moreland is amusing as the nightclub janitor. Viewers of older films and TV might recognise Charles Lane as the District Attorney - he played Homer Bedloe on the long-running Petticoat Junction series. I specifically mention him because he is set to celebrate his 100th birthday in January 2005, although some sources suggest he may be six years older!

    The series seems to be cracking at the seams here. The film has a cobbled-together feel and loses a lot of the exoticism that made the series a success in the 1930s. There is far too much monkey business from Cheta and too little action, though what there is of the latter is quite impressive. One scene involves Tarzan climbing the Brooklyn Bridge and another has him calling on a herd of circus elephants to help him trap the bad guys. After this film, MGM gave up, with Maureen O'Sullivan wanting to take on more dramatic material and the box office receipts plummeting. RKO picked up the series along with Weissmuller and Cheta, and there would be six more films over the next six years, several of which had Tarzan fighting the Nazis. When Weissmuller started to show his age, he started a whole new series about the adventures of Jungle Jim, which was basically an articulate Tarzan in a safari suit, which ran to 16 films over 7 years. Johnny Sheffield would star in a series of his own about Bomba the Jungle Boy.

    While this is not the best in the series, it is still entertaining up to a point. It is not the sort of film that warrants repeated viewing though. It comes as part of The Tarzan Collection, which contains all six MGM films.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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 very good transfer even though it has not been restored. The newly shot footage 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.

    There is basically nothing in the way of introduced problems in this transfer, apart from some slight telecine wobble visible during the opening credits and the occasional shimmer of aliasing. Film artefacts are present throughout most of the running time. These are mainly white flecks and pale scratches, though there are reel change markings at 20:07, 40:17 and 50:33. The image is slightly displaced at 52:46, possibly due to frames being spliced in from another source, and there is an example of moire at 13:37.

    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's Secret Treasure on side A.

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 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 in the soundtrack, and although the frequency range is lacking, the audio is quite good for a film of this era.

    Again, this film has a music score by David Snell, and again apart from some "jungle" music at the beginning there does not seem to be much music in the film.

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

Extras

    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.

Summary

    The last and least of the MGM Tarzan films.

    The video and audio are good though the film has not been restored.

    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.)
Thursday, January 06, 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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