The New Adventures of Tarzan
Tarzan, who has returned to Africa after living in England, sets off to Guatemala in search of an old friend who may have survived a plane crash there. Also in Guatemala are Ula Vale and Major Martling who are out to find the riches of the Green Goddess. They join forces after they learn that a competitor, Raglan, has already set out ahead of them. Tarzan has to rescue everyone after they are taken prisoner. When they get to the hidden city, Tarzan finds his friend alive and the fabulous treasure.
The New Adventures of Tarzan is a 1935 American film serial in 12 chapters starring Herman Brix. The serial presents a more authentic version of the character than most other film adaptations, with Tarzan as a cultured and well educated gentleman as in the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. It was filmed during the same period as the Johnny Weissmuller/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Tarzan films. Film exhibitors had the choice of booking the serial in 12 episodes, as a feature film, also called The New Adventures of Tarzan, or as the feature film followed by 11 episodes of the serial.
The serial was partly filmed in Guatemala, and Tarzan was played by Herman Brix (known post-war as Bruce Bennett). The final screenplay was credited to Charles F. Royal, and from Episode 6 onward, also Basil Dickey. It was produced by Ashton Dearholt, Bennett Cohen and George W. Stout under the corporate name of “Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises, Inc.” (which also distributed) and was directed by Edward Kull and Wilbur F. McGaugh.
The original version of the plot proposed involvement of munitions runners and government agents, focussing more on the super-explosive formula hidden in the idol. This was re-written during production but some elements remain, such as the otherwise nonsensical final chapter name “Operator No. 17” and Ula Vale’s unexplained periodic use of disguises in the first few chapters (Ula Vale was originally written as a government agent using “Operator No. 17” as her codename; and this plot element was dropped from the revised script, but only after some scenes from the earlier shooting script had been filmed, along with the main title cards).
Several plot elements bring the characters together in search (and pursuit) of the Guatemalan idol known as The Green Goddess: Tarzan’s friend D’Arnot has crash landed in the region and is in the hands of a lost tribe of jungle natives; Major Martling is leading an expedition to find the fabled artefact for a powerful explosives formula hidden within it; Ula Vale’s fiancé died in an earlier expedition to rescue the artefact for its archaeological benefit and so she starts one of her own in his honour; and Raglan has been sent by Hiram Powers, Ula’s lawyer, to steal the valuable idol for himself. In addition to containing the explosives formula, the idol also holds a fortune in jewels.
Tarzan, Ula and Major Martling locate the lost city containing the idol and rescue D’Arnot from the natives that worship it in the 70-minute-long first episode. However, Raglan escapes with the Green Goddess and heads through the jungle for the coast. Tarzan and the others pursue him across the jungle, encountering many perils, including recapture by the natives to whom the idol belonged. The adventures end out at sea where, during a hurricane, they are able to permanently secure the idol while Raglan is killed by another of Powers’ agents because of his failures. The murderer perishes when the ship sinks.
Returning to Greystoke Manor in England with Tarzan, Ula consigns the explosives formula to fire in the final episode, where she and Tarzan also recount several adventures from the first part of the serial to an assembled party of friends and colleagues.
Herman Brix as Tarzan, or Lord Greystoke
Ula Holt as Ula Vale
Ashton Dearholt as P.B. Raglan
Frank Baker as Major Francis Martling
Lewis Sargent as George
Jiggs as Nkima, Tarzan’s chimpanzee
Dale Walsh as Alice Martling
Harry Ernest as Gordon Hamilton
Jackie Genry as Queen Maya
Jack Mower as Captain Blade
Merrill McCormick as Bouchart