Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tarzan Goes to India (1962)

Director: John Guillermin

Writers: Robert Hardy Andrews, John Guillermin

Composer: Ken Jones

Starring: Jock Mahoney, Jai the Elephant Boy, Leo Gordon, Mark Dana, Feroz Khan, Simi Garewal, Murad, Jagdish Raj, G. Raghaven, Aaron Joseph, Abas Khan, Pehelwan Ameer, K.S. Tripathi, Peter Cooke, Denis Bastian

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The King of the Jungle finds new adventure in a new land in a fabulous filmed on-location spectacle in mystic India!

Plot: Summoned by an Indian princess, Tarzan travels to India where hundreds of wild elephants are in danger. A company is building a hydroelectric dam and the contractors have only a few weeks to finish the job. The building of the dam will flood the valley surrounded by mountains. There is one pass through which the elephant herd can escape but that is being closed. Tarzan comes up against an old nemesis, Bryce, the chief engineer. Bryce undertook a similar dam project in Africa and had a penchant for shooting elephants. It's up to Tarzan to organize the move before Bryce manages to close the pass.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Tarzan movie review I write will probably begin with: TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE (1959) (which, by the way, was also directed by John Guillermin) is THE best Tarzan picture I've seen so far and I doubt any will surpass it.  It's just that good.  INDIA is a distant second but it's a good adventure film that takes advantage of being entirely shot in India and that makes a difference.  Jock Mahoney does a good job as Tarzan.  He's a lot leaner than Gordon Scott (from TGA) but he's a more realistic looking Tarzan and practically a prototype for Ron Ely (my favorite Tarzan) who would star as Tarzan in the awesome TV show in 1966.  This is Mahoney's first of two outings as Tarzan (he later appeared as a different semi-recurring character in the TV series and had previously starred opposite Scott in in TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT (1960)).  There's a good deal of action and the bad guy gets his comeuppance but there is an interesting turn of events with the final antagonist which is as noble as it is unexpected. Nice touch.

This film marks the first appearance of the young boy, Jai, a character that would become a favorite years later in the TV show.  I really liked his and Tarzan's relationship.  The kid does a great job, too (funny how he isn't listed in the IMDb credits and he's got more screen time than anyone except for Tarzan). It reminded me an awful lot of Indy and Short Round from INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984) to the point that I'm certain that's how Short Round originated.  It's a good picture and one that would be nice to see on the big screen, as would all of the Tarzan films (I'd even watch the so-so ones on the big screen if given the opportunity.)

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