English intertitles WriterEdgar Rice Burroughs, Fred Miller, Lois Weber Release dateJanuary 27, 1918 (Broadway, New York)
Tarzan of the apes 1918
Tarzan of the Apes is a 1918 American action/adventure silent film directed by Scott Sidney starring Elmo Lincoln, Enid Markey, George B. French and Gordon Griffith. It was the first Tarzan movie ever made and is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' original novel Tarzan of the Apes. The movie adapts only the first part of the novel, the remainder becoming the basis for the sequel, The Romance of Tarzan. The film is considered the most faithful to the novel of all the film adaptations. Its most notable plot change is the introduction of the character Binns and his role in bringing the Porters to Africa; the novel brought them there through the improbable coincidence of a second mutiny.
John and Alice Clayton, Lord and Lady Greystoke (True Boardman and Kathleen Kirkham), are passengers on the Fuwalda, a ship bound for Africa. When the vessel is taken over by mutineers the sailor Binns (George B. French) saves them from being murdered, but they are marooned on the tropical coast. After their deaths their infant son is adopted by Kala, an ape, who raises him as her own. The young Tarzan (Gordon Griffith) grows to maturity among the apes, becoming their king. Binns, returning to find the Claytons after ten years’ captivity among the Arabs, discovers the ape man and travels to England to report his survival to his family. An expedition led by scientist Professor Porter (Thomas Jefferson) is launched to investigate. Meanwhile, Kala has been killed by a native, who is killed in turn by the now-adult Tarzan (Elmo Lincoln). The villagers kidnap Porter’s daughter Jane (Enid Markey); Tarzan rescues and romances her, and she comes to accept his love.
Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan
Enid Markey as Jane Porter
True Boardman as John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
Kathleen Kirkham as Alice Clayton, Lady Greystoke
George B. French as Binns, a sailor
Gordon Griffith as Tarzan, younger
Colin Kenny as William Cecil Clayton
Thomas Jefferson as Professor Porter
Bessie Toner as Bar Maid
Jack Wilson as Captain of the Fuwalda
Louis Morrison as Innkeeper
Fred L. Wilson
Like many American films of the time, Tarzan of the Apes was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For Chicago Board of Censors cut: "in Reel 1, the captain shooting man and his falling, two scenes of men with captain being shot and falling, striking man on head, Reel 3, scene of boy being frightened by lion and jumping up showing his sex, woman standing over kettle showing breasts, Reel 5, first two scenes of maid on man's lap in closet, three choking scenes, Reel 7, two closeups of Negro leering at woman and four scenes where he carries her off."