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Edward S. Curtis "Tarzan" Silent Movie Stills (circa 1918-1921)

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    Posted 7 years ago

    (145 items)

    I'm out of my element on these, but I had to have them because I just thought they were interesting. I knew Edward Curtis' work from his decades long Indian series, but never his Hollywood work.

    At auction, I picked up these two blue-tone Hollywood silent movie still gelatin silver print photographs by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952 WA/CA). The photos are mounted on mat boards embossed in the bottom with "Edward S. Curtis Studio Los Angeles." One photograph is signed Curtis L.A. lower right corner. Dimensions: 13.5''x10'' photo (w/ board 20''x15'').

    The auction house I purchased them from speculated that the photographs could be from "The Queen of Sheba" and "Tarzan." After more recent online research, I was able to establish that both come from one of the first early silent movie versions of Tarzan that was filmed in 1921 (see comment sections below).

    Mystery Solved
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    1. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 7 years ago
    2. cogito cogito, 7 years ago
      Thanks for the pointers! I found a book entitled, "Silent: American Silent Motion Picture Photography," that indicates that Curtis was employed by DeMille and Paramount in the late-10s and early-20s.
    3. cogito cogito, 7 years ago
      Eureka! I believe both to be production stills from early silent movie versions of Tarzan. See the following website. There is a blue-tone picture that has the same scenery and female as the second picture I own!

      I'm not certain which Tarzan movie, as there are quite a few (see here: ).
    4. cogito cogito, 7 years ago
      If the 1921 date is to be believed in the other reference works, then these production stills are probably from The Adventures of Tarzan, which features the first actor to portray Tarzan on film, Elmo Lincoln, and the first Jane, Louise Lorraine. The caveman person in the first picture may be the character "Og," while the second picture may show Lilian Worth in her role as "Queen La."

      Here's what Amazon has to say about the 1921 "Adventures of Tarzan":

      This serial, a national sensation on its original release, has not been seen in serial form for many years. Adapted from the concluding chapters of Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Return of Tarzan, the serial's major players are Tarzan (Elmo Lincoln, in his second and final appearance as Tarzan), Jane (Louise Lorraine), Tarzan's arch enemy Rokoff and Queen La of Opar. Tarzan's companions are Tantor the elephant and two ape friends: a female called Ara and a male (from Opar) named Og. Tarzan, now allied with the French Secret Service, pursues his arch enemy, international criminal and blackmailer Rokoff (Frank Whitson) and his cohort, rogue French officer Gernot (George Momberg), who have come to Africa to plunder its treasures. Rokoff also steals from Tarzan the formula for a deadly gas and lusts after Jane (16 years old at the time of filming), complicating matters a great deal when he inscribes a map to the treasure room of the lost city of Opar on her back. After many adventures in the desert, jungle, and the city of Sagarone, the entire cast has it out in Opar under the eyes of Queen La (Lilian Worth), who wants Tarzan to lead her army of wild-men. Plenty of amazing stunts, earthquakes, fires, and deathtraps in this fast-paced serial involving live lions and other wild animals, and a memorable performance by the amazing vine-swinging, villain-bashing, chest-beating Elmo Lincoln, who had so much fun doing this he was willing to wrestle real lions onstage to promote the serial in 1921.
    5. cogito cogito, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Riply206. It was your lead that led to the solution, so you really deserve some of the credit! Thanks again for the help! Cheers.
    6. fledermaus fledermaus, 7 years ago
      These are fantastic!!!! Just great!
    7. cogito cogito, 7 years ago
      Thanks, Fledermaus.

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