23 September 2018 | lugonian
Tarzan's Deadly Journey
TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT (Paramount, 1960), a Sy Weintraub and Harvey Hayutin presentation, directed by Robert Day, stars Gordon Scott as the muscular and modern-day Tarzan for the sixth and final time. Hailed as possibly Scott's best "Tarzan" adventure next to Scott's previous outing of TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE (1959), also filmed in Eastman color as well as on location in Kenya, Africa,( with actual Kikuyu and Masai tribes, animal footage and authentic scenery), the plot in itself is both fast-moving and well scripted, thanks to screenplay by Berne Gilar and Robert Day.
Following the opening credits to drum pounding beats and dancing natives, the story gets underway with a poster photo of Coy Banton wanted for murder, dead or alive. Abel Banton (John Carradine), leader and father to his gang of sons, Martin (Al Mulock), Johnny (Gary Cockrell), Ethan (Ron MacDonnall), and foremost, Coy (Jock Mahoney), are seen entering and raiding a mining company office for supplies, killing one of its officers, driving away by jeep. Inspector Winters (John Sullivan) follows the Bantons to their camp, where he captures and arrests Coy. By doing so, he loses his own life as father and brothers come to his rescue. At the same time, the Banton's find themselves dodging flying arrows, killing Ethan. Tarzan (Gordon Scott), lord of the jungle, enters the scene, handcuffing and taking Coy to justice. Awaiting at a native village for the arrival of a riverboat to have Tarzan take Coy to Kairobi, the Banton's have other plans in saving Coy by shooting Captain Hayes (George Taylor), releasing its passengers, Ames (Lionel Jeffries) and his wife, Fay (Bella St. John); Conway (Charles Tingwell), his wife, Lori (Alexandra Stewart), and Tate (Carl Cameron), the police deputy, before setting the boat on fire, to show they mean business. Tarzan the fearless finds himself forced to take the arrested Coy 65 miles to Kairobi by foot, along with the stranded passengers to their proposed destination, regardless of the dangers ahead, ranging from dangerous wild animals, swamps, quicksand, with the evil Bantons not far behind.
Also In the cast are Peter Howell (Doctor Blake); Harry Baird (The Warrior Leader); Christopher Carlos (The Native Chief); Ewen Solon and Jacqueline Evans (Mr. and Mrs. Dexter). With the supporting cast consisting mostly British actors, only Gary Cockrell gets the introduction opening casting credit. Lionel Jeffries plays the middle-aged husband to a young wife whose both extremely jealous and an shrewd businessman.. Though Jock Mahoney stands out as the deadly and most feared villain, John Carradine as his father and Tarzan's enemy, taking the most acting honors with in his scene stealing tactics.
For its latest edition in the new decade of the 1960s, TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT starts off very well and never lets go through its 88 minutes. Aside from eliminating Jane from the plot. Tarzan's pet chimpanzee is again reduced to just a cameo. Tarzan swings on vines and dives into rivers, but doesn't give out his Tarzan yell as in the past. The plot itself plays like a western story that first borrows from HIGH NOON (1952) starring Gary Cooper, where Tarzan, like the sheriff (Cooper), becomes the only one brave enough to capture and take in his prisoner to authorities, while others who could help and assist refuse through fear; BROKEN LANCE (20th-Fox, 1954) starring Spencer Tracy, dealing with father raising bad sons; and THE SPOILERS (Universal, 1942) with John Wayne and Randolph Scott, with fight to the end battle between Tarzan and Coy. Though Tarzan carries bow and arrow for protection, as he did in TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE, the fearless jungle hero must dodge bullets shot his way from villains using rifles, adding more conflict to this very exciting Tarzan adventure that would make his creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs, proud.
As much as the Tarzan series might have concluded its very long series with this edition, and Gordon Scott turning in his loincloth, the series resumed with both TARZAN GOES TO INDIA (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1962) and TARZAN'S THREE CHALLENGES (1963) surprisingly starring the villain Jock Mahoney in the title role, adding a new image to his character. Never distributed on video cassette, TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT did become part of the Gordon Scott/Tarzan DVD collection, as well as cable television broadcasts on both American Movie Classics (1997) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: October 8, 2011). Recommended viewing. (***)