Monday, May 6, 2013
Tarzan's Greatest Adventure
I'm not very versed in Tarzan. I've seen a few movies, and I've read the first novel. Recently, two strong recommendations for this movie appeared in my web-crawling circle. Noted by both Charles R. Rutledge and Ryan Harvey, I knew I needed to give this one a viewing.
When greedy diamond prospectors steal dynamite from an African village and murder his friend, Tarzan picks up their trail to exact vengeance. Along the way, he picks up a feisty blonde companion, Angie. Jungle dangers abound as Tarzan comes closer to his prey, and the psychological pressure on the villainous band soon has them tearing each other apart, even as they battle against Tarzan.
Don't let the black-&-white stills fool you, this movie is in color. As noted by others, it was filmed on location in Africa, getting away from the stagnant movie sets of the past. Gordon Scott's Tarzan is no longer monosyllabic, but neither does he speak eloquently as an English Greystoke might. While Scott might not have been the best deliverer of a line, as Tarzan his delivery works very well.
One drawback; there is a notable absence of Tarzan through the fourth fifth of the movie. Wounded and out of commission, Tarzan mostly falls off-screen while the focus shifts to the heroine and the villains. I was enjoying Scott's Tarzan portrayal enough that I found the absence distracting.
As someone who did not grow up with jungle adventures, I did have a little bit of disconnect when the movie went into "stock footage" mode - mixing terrain and animals that would never be found that close together. (e.g.; From the heart of a thick jungle, Tarzan and his companion observe a lion hunt & kill on the veldt!)
But, this isn't about accuracy, it's about having a grand adventure on the Dark Continent. As a fun throwback to Saturday matinee adventure films, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure hits its mark and does so strongly.