Ula Vale (Ula Holt) is determined to go to Guatemala to search for an ancient artifact known as the Green Goddess. Her fiancé died attempting to find an ancient city that reportedly houses the goddess and she has taken up his cause. The Green Goddess is a stone idol worshipped by a native tribe in the jungle. It is said that the Goddess contains a fortune in jewels and an ancient formula for the most powerful explosive ever. Her lawyer, Hiram Powers, advises against the trip but she is adamant that the formula, hidden in the goddess, doesn’t fall into unscrupulous hands.
At the same time archeologist Major Francis Martling (Frank Baker) is also putting together an expedition looking for the goddess. His party includes his daughter Alice (Dale Walsh), her fiancé Gordon Hamilton (Harry Ernest) and the Major’s lackey George (Lewis Sargent). The major is approached by a man named Bouchart (Merrill McCormick) who tells him that he needs to take Tarzan with him on his expedition. He says that Tarzan’s best friend, lieutenant d’Arnot’s, plane crashed somewhere near the ancient city. If d’Arnot is still alive Tarzan will want to find him.
Tarzan is also known as Lord Greystoke. After having been educated in England he returned to Africa to live in the jungle. D’Arnot was the one who originally found Tarzan in the jungle and brought him to England to claim his rightful place as Lord Greystoke. George and Bouchart are sent into the jungle to find Tarzan. When they find him Bouchart explains that he was with d’Arnot when their plane crashed and he is sure that d’Arnot is still alive. Tarzan agrees to go with Major Martling’s group.
The two expeditions set sail to Guatemala. Also on board is a mercenary named P. B. Raglan (Ashton Dearholt). Raglan is working for the lawyer Powers who wants the explosive formula for himself. Tarzan must not only find his friend d’Arnot but keep Martling and his party safe from jungle perils. In addition he must battle Raglan and the hordes of natives who worship the idol and will do anything to get it back.
“The New Adventures of Tarzan” was released in 1935 and was directed by Edward Kull and Wilbur F. McGaugh. It is a twelve chapter adventure serial.
A lot of the cliffhangers are a little different than in most serials. Usually the hero avoids whatever is coming by jumping out of the way. Not Tarzan. He goes over the waterfall. He has the tiger trap fall on him. He has the lion attack him, etc. etc. He also has a tendency to jump into a group of men and start whaling away no matter how many people are in the group.
Another thing that is different in this serial is that the recap chapter is chapter 12, the last chapter. The title of the chapter “Operator No. 17” is also out of place. Originally Ula Holt’s character was supposed to be a government agent and Operator No. 17 was her code name but the entire subplot was dropped. The title of the chapter still remained. Except for the first four and a half minutes the entire last chapter is really unnecessary.
Tarzan is played by Herman Brix. Brix was an Olympic shot-putter. He won a silver medal in the 1928 Olympics. When his acting roles began to type cast him as just an action hero he stopped acting for awhile and studied the craft. He came back as Bruce Bennett and got a contract from Columbia Pictures. Many consider Brix to be the best film Tarzan ever due to the great physical presence and the dignity he brought to the role.
The scenes of Tarzan fighting a lion are Mel Koontz and his trained lion Jackie. MGM also used Jackie in its logo. Outside of the lion wrestling Brix did his own stunts, including the vine swinging. The scene where Brix bursts the ropes binding him in Chapter 6 is real. MGM wanted Brix to play Tarzan in the film “Tarzan the Ape Man” 1932 but an injury to his shoulder prevented him from getting the part. It went instead to Johnny Weissmuller.
Jiggs is the chimpanzee that plays Tarzan’s pet Nkima. In the Burrough’s books Tarzan’s companion is a monkey and not a chimp and is named Nkima and not Cheetah. Jiggs earned $2,000 for this role.
In 1938 the serial was edited and repackaged as a one hour and twelve minute feature film called “Tarzan and the Green Goddess”. The film consists of portions of chapters 2-12 and some additional footage. It’s not a sequel but a trimmed version of the serial.
CHAPTER TITLES: 1) New Adventures; 2) Crossed Trails; 3) Devil's Noose; 4) River Perils; 5) Unseen Hands; 6) Fatal Fangs; 7) Flaming Waters; 8) Angry Gods; 9) Doom's Brink; 10) Secret Signals; 11) Death's Fireworks; 12) Operator No. 17.