The Romance of Tarzan

The Romance of Tarzan is a 1918 American silent action adventure film directed by Wilfred Lucas starring Elmo Lincoln, Enid Markey, Thomas Jefferson, and Cleo Madison. The movie was the second Tarzan movie ever made, and is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' original novel Tarzan of the Apes. It adapts only the second part of the novel, the earlier portion having been the basis for the preceding film Tarzan of the Apes (1918). Less popular than its predecessor due to much of the action taking place in the wild west rather than Africa, the film has not been preserved, and no prints of it are known to survive today.[2]

The Romance of Tarzan
Advertisement (1918)
Directed byWilfred Lucas
Produced byWilliam Parsons
Isadore Bernstein ("Supervised")[1]
Written by
Based onTarzan of the Apes
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
CinematographyHarry Vallejo
Edited byC. R. Wallace
Distributed byNational Film Corporation of America
Release date
  • September 16, 1918 (1918-09-16)
Running time
96 min
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


The film opens with flashbacks from Tarzan of the Apes to establish the back story. The African expedition led by Professor Porter (Thomas Jefferson) to find Tarzan (Elmo Lincoln), the ape-raised heir of Lord Greystoke, has been crowned with success, and Tarzan and Porter's daughter Jane (Enid Markey) are in love.

The party now prepares to return to civilization when it is attacked by natives and separated from the ape-man. Tarzan's paternal cousin William Cecil Clayton (Colin Kenny), the current Lord Greystoke, desiring to keep his wealth and title, reports having seen the savages kill Tarzan. Believing him dead, they leave without their charge. But Tarzan has in fact survived, and is eager to be reunited with Jane. Finding his new friends gone he swims out to another boat to follow.

Eventually he reaches the United States, and is landed near the Porters' ranch in San Francisco, California. Tarzan in civilization is like a bull in a china shop, as is demonstrated early in a destructive incident in a dance hall, where his prowess impresses La Belle Odine (Cleo Madison). Things get back on track when Jane is kidnapped by outlaws, presenting him with the opportunity to rescue her. Jane, however, is cold to him, as Clayton has falsely convinced her he is in love with the other woman. Heartbroken, Tarzan swears off civilization and returns to Africa. Belatedly learning the truth from Odine, Jane follows, and is happily reunited with her lover in the jungle.



Like many American films of the time, The Romance of Tarzan was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors required a cut, in Reel 2, of Tarzan choking a native with his arm, Reel 4, Tarzan kissing a young woman on her breast, Reel 6, the intertitle "If you will only spare him I will go back and be your slave", a scene showing Tarzan lifting a man off his feet and choking him, and two scenes of Tarzan choking a man.[3]

See also


  1. "Is Unconvincing, But Jungle Stuff and Action Make It Interesting", The Romance of Tarzan, review, Wid's Daily (New York, N.Y.), October 16, 1918, [p. 4]. Internet Archive, San Francisco, California. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  2. Carl Bennett (ed.). "The Romance of Tarzan". Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  3. "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 7 (17): 43. October 19, 1918.
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