Taking a stroll through the jungle one day, Tarzan (James Pierce) - or
rather his pet lion Jag - stumbles uponthe explorer an old man, the
explorer John Gordon, who had gone missing 15 years ago and has apparently
spent his time being forced to worlk in the diamond mines of a lost city
populated by an ancient civilisation.
Unfortunately, badman Esteban Miranda (Frederick Peters) hears Foster
relate his story to Tarzan, and soon enough he abducts Gordon so that he
can lead him to the lost city - and more importantly its diamond mines. And
to keep Tarzan from doing anything stupid, Miranda takes Tarzan's sister
Betty (Edna Murphy) hostage.
Once Miranda's party (including native guide Boris Karloff)
reach the lost city however, Miranda has to realize that the natives are
not too keen on having their diamond mines exploited by him, however, they are
keen on having Jane as their next sacrifice to the Lion God ... and
somehow, Gordon is dropped from the elevated plateau the city is on right
in front of Tarzan's feet so he can tell him how to get into the city
without the native guards noticing. Bad thing though is that Miranda wants
the same information and soon enough dresses up as Tarzan to get it from
the man as well ...
Soon enough, with the help of a befriended native tribe and his lion
Jag, Tarzan attacks the city, and together they overcome both the city's
evil high priest and Miranda and his men - and in the end, Tarzan declares
himself king of the city.
Dorothy Dunbar plays Lady Jane, Tarzan's regular mate, but she has
precious little to do, while Harold Goodwin as Tarzan's trusted friend Jack
Bradley has not much more to do either.
Allegedly, this is the only Tarzan film fully sanctioned
by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs ... but does that
then make it the best Tarzan film ?
Quite frankly, nope. Tarzan and the Golden Lion is typical pulpy jungle
fare that has its great moments and its moments of hilarity (e.g. Boris
Karloff as black native alone is quite ridiculous). However, if you like
(silent) jungle adventures, you might still find this quite entertaining
By the way, James Pierce was initially not all that happy to play
Tarzan, and he had to back out of another film to do Tarzan and the
Golden Lion. This other film was Wings (1927, William
A.Wellman), the first ever movie to win an Academy Award for Best
Picture. Piece's role ultimately went to a then unknown called Gary
Cooper - and the rest is history.
However, Pierce seems to not have been too unhappy with his choice
since in 1928, he married Edgar Rice Burrough's daughter Joan and played Tarzan
once more in a radio serial running from 1932 to 1934 - with his wife Joan
playing Jane ...