Burroghs stood out as one of the more popular authors in his day. From his adventure novels featuring Tarzan to his science fiction series centering on "John Carter of Mars", Burroughs had something that appealed to all types of readers. His books continue to be a popular source of material for movies and television into the 21st Century.These five movies drew their inspiration from the mind of Burroughs with varying degrees of success:
Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932):
Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller moved onto an acting career by offering up the first portrayal of Tarzan following the silent film era. Weissmuller portrayed Tarzan in 12 movies starting with this one. His debut film deals with the first meeting of Tarzan and Jane. This movie introduced his primate pal Cheeta and the famous Tarzan jungle call.
Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981):
Bo Derek was flat-out gorgeous in her prime. Her looks never translated into a successful movie career and this remake of the original "Tarzan, the Ape Man" offers plenty of evidence for why things played out that way. The actors were more wooden than the trees they climbed. It lacked humor and charm and tried to survive on Derek's sex appeal alone.
Greystoke: Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984):
Before he gained fame for chopping off the heads of other immortals in "Highlander," Christopher Lambert broke out the loincloth to play Tarzan. This film chronicles his return to England after being raised by chimpanzees and his struggles to fit in with human society in England. One crazy aspect of the movie is that Andie MacDowell plays Jane, but her voice is dubbed out and replaced with the voice of Glenn Close. I guess the director figured Jane would not work as a British lady with a southern accent.
The Land that Time Forgot (1975):
A group of imprisoned British sailors take over a German U-boat during World War I and end up discovering an uncharted sub-continent called Caprona. What follows are the discovery of dinosaurs and primitive men living in a tropical paradise. "The Land that Time Forgot" is the sort of low-budget fare that graced the screen before "Star Wars" changed everything two years later. It did well enough to earn a sequel, "The People that Time Forgot" which starred John Wayne's son Patrick Wayne.
John Carter (2012):
Leave it to Disney to market a potential sci-fi hit so poorly that it becomes one of the biggest box office bombs of the 21st Century. "John Carter" had potential. It was drawn from the Barsoom series of novels by Burroughs that chronicled the adventures of John Carter, an Earth man who is transported to Mars in the 19th Century. Poor marketing that obscured what John Carter was about and revealing nothing of its source material turned away the target audience. It will probably be a while before another Burroughs story or novel hits the big screen now.