Jane (Louise Lorraine) has been kidnapped by the evil Rokoff (Frank Whitson) and Tarzan’s cousin William Cecil Clayton (Scott Pembroke). They plan on selling her to slave traders. Tarzan arrives and saves Jane from their clutches. Minions for Queen La of Opar (Lillian Worth) kidnap Jane. La is jealous of Jane’s beauty so she orders that she be sacrificed to the sun god. Tarzan saves her. While at Opar Rokoff learns of the city’s treasure. When Jane gets a fever Tarzan leaves her to collect jungle herbs. Rokoff shows up and again kidnaps Jane. Jane escapes and Tarzan finds her.
Rokoff meets up with a renegade officer named Gernot (Zip Monberg). Rokoff, Gernot and some renegade Arabs, attack the Waziri village to steal their cache of ivory. Tarzan helps the Waziri defeat them. Tarzan steals a map of Opar from Gernot. Jane comes under the spell of a witch doctor and Jane’s father is found wandering in the jungle. Jane is again kidnapped by Rokoff and Gernot and taken to the city of Sagarone. Rokoff needs to secure more men for a new invasion on Opar. Tarzan follows them across the desert and once again saves her. Rokoff and Gernot head back to Opar to rob them of their treasure. Queen La wants Tarzan to defeat Rokoff and his men.
There is a formula in there somewhere and a map tattooed on Jane’s back that shows the city of Opar and there are more lions than people in the jungle. Apparently there was a sale on them.
“The Adventures of Tarzan” was released in 1921 and was directed by Robert F. Hull and Scott Sidney. It is a fifteen chapter silent serial featuring Elmo Lincoln as the jungle man. Tarzan is based on the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film is loosely based on two Tarzan novels “The Return of Tarzan” and “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”. The serial has been reedited and released with sound effects twice. The first time in 1928, and the second time in 1935. The complete fifteen chapter version no longer exists but a ten chapter version is now available on DVD and was restored by The Serial Squadron. There are also other versions out there where the serial has been reduced to a full length movie.
I think the copy I have is from the Bill Sprague collection, which means it’s not the best copy out there and it’s not as complete as the one done by The Serial Squadron. What I have is three hours long. There are no chapter titles and it appears rather disjointed. I believe it’s one of the movie versions out there. The version I have does include a lot of exciting parts from the serial, but the way it is spliced together is like watching the serial in fast forward. The editing cuts out a lot of lead in so it’s easy to get lost and the plot is all over the place. The Serial Squadron version has more plot than the Sprague version but even that one is short five chapters.
The desert scenes were filmed in Arizona. The jungle fire sequence was shot at the Great Western Studio. It got out of hand and almost burned down the studio buildings. One time several actors were hurt and had to be hospitalized, three cameras were destroyed and the film from the day's shoot was ruined when three lions escaped and ran amok. During one of the scenes where Elmo is fighting and killing a lion the lion got annoyed at having his tail pulled and actually attacked. Elmo ended up fighting for his life and had to kill the lion in real life by stabbing it several times. The scene was left in the film. The animal trainer for the film was Charles Gay. In the earlier chapters Tarzan is bare-chested. Apparently there were issues from women with tender sensibilities. In later chapters Tarzan has a fur pelt across his chest.
Elmo played Tarzan three times. The first was in the silent serial “Tarzan of the Apes” 1918. His second film was “The Romance of Tarzan” 1918. This film is lost. His third and final role as Tarzan was in this film. Elmo was the first person to play Tarzan on screen. Jane Porter is now played by a sixteen year old Louise Lorraine. Frank Merrill was the stunt double for Elmo. At first Elmo did his own stunts but he was insured for $150,000 and the insurers got a little upset when they found out so Merrill took over. Merrill was eventually cast as Tarzan in the film “Tarzan the Mighty” 1928. Unfortunately that film is now lost. Merrill also played Tarzan in “Tarzan the Tiger” 1929.
CHAPTER TITLES: 1. Jungle Romance; 2. City of Gold; 3. Sun Death; 4. The Stalking Death; 5. Flames of Hate; 6. Fangs of the Lion; 7. The Jungle Trap; 8. The Tornado; 9. The Ivory Trap; 10. The Simoon; 11. The Hidden Arrows; 12. The Dynamite Trail; 13. The Jungle's Prey; 14. Flaming Arrows; 15. The Last Adventure.