Watching 1939: Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult.

1939 film:
Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)

tarzan finds a son

Release date:
June 16, 1939

Cast:
Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield, Ian Hunter, Frieda Inescort, Henry Stephenson, Henry Wilcoxon, Laraine Day, Morton Lowry

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Richard Thorpe

Plot:
When a plane crashes in the jungle, Cheetah the Ape finds there is a baby on board. Bringing the baby to Tarzan (Weissmuller) and Jane (O’Sullivan), they raise the child as their own in the jungle. When five years pass, relatives of the baby bring a search party (Hunter, Inescort, Stephenson) to find survivors of the crash, because an inheritance is at stake.

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Olympics to Hollywood: Johnny Weissmuller

Today, most Olympic fans in the United States are proud of Michael Phelps, who has broken records for both swimming and amount of gold medals won in one Olympic game.

But in the 1920s, the same pride and idolization was for another swimmer: Johnny Weissmuller, one of the first international swimming superstars.

Johnny Weissmuller in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Johnny Weissmuller in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Weissmuller is best known now for swinging through trees with his signature yodeling yell and speaking in broken English in the film role of Tarzan the Ape man. But his fame began as an Olympic swimmer.

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