Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, your place on the Avocado to discuss films with your fellow commenters. Want to make a recommendation? Looking for recommendations? Want to share your opinions of movies, both new and classic?
This year is the 90th anniversary of Tarzan the Ape Man. It was not the first adaptation of Tarzan. The first Tarzan was Elmo Lincoln, who starred in the 1918 silent film Tarzan of the Apes. It wasn’t even the first Tarzan film with sound. That would go to Frank Merrill in 1929’s Tarzan the Tiger (which would actually get him kicked out of the role as producers didn’t think he sounded like Tarzan at all).
However, 1932’s Tarzan the Ape Man is the first movie to star the man who would be forever associated with the franchise: five-time Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer and BVD underwear model Johnny Weissmuller.
Many consider Weissmuller the definitive Tarzan. He starred in twelve Tarzan films from 1932 to 1948. He originated the famous Tarzan yell. The films made the chemistry between Tarzan and Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan) central to the early films, which certainly added to the appeal. Weissmuller was fit and athletic, which is great when you’re going to spend the entire movie not wearing a shirt. When you think of Tarzan as a barely verbal monosyllabic jungle man, you’re thinking of Johnny Weissmuller. (Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Tarzan to be articulate. While he liked the casting of Weissmuller, he did not like the portrayal and back a different Tarzan franchise with better reflected the character as in the books.)
And after he was done with Tarzan, Weissmuller retired and never acted in any roles again.
Oh, no, wait. According to IMDB, he actually followed up Tarzan by starring in sixteen films of the utterly forgettable Jungle Jim series.
I haven’t watched them, but from the screenshots I’m assuming that it’s basically Tarzan with a shirt.
Bonus prompt: is an actor who nails a role so hard that you can’t separate them from that role despite being in other movies?