Greystoke (1984)

PG   |    |  Adventure, Drama


Greystoke (1984) Poster

A missing heir of respected Scottish family, raised in African jungles by animals, finally returns to his estate only to realize that difference between the two worlds is really significant.


6.4/10
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6 January 2009 | Bunuel1976
7
| Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes (Hugh Hudson, 1984) ***
This begins a series (which I'll hopefully keep up every week-end) of films that came out during my childhood – in this case, it's one I've only managed to catch now. It was clearly intended as the last word on the subject, which basically had been debased to the level of hokum over the years; however, in its uncompromising striving for a serious-minded approach (a sure measure of which is that the protagonist is never once referred to by the name he's been known all this time the world over!), the film-makers rather lost track of the fact that the thing was intended primarily as entertainment! Consequently, we get a decidedly staid representation of events – with more care given to meticulous period reconstruction than in providing a functional thematic environment for its mythic jungle hero! Even so, Christopher Lambert rose to stardom – as did another debutante, Andie McDowell, playing his love interest (named Jane, of course) – with the title role, which he handles creditably enough under the circumstances. However, Ralph Richardson (to whom the film is dedicated, this being his swan-song) steals every scene he's in as Tarzan's natural grandfather who, in spite of showing obvious affection for his long-lost kin, can't bring himself to forget tradition in an effort to understand his predicament; the hero, in fact, is much more comfortable interacting with primates (even contriving, after having gone back home, to save his adoptive 'dad' from captivity). The film is otherwise very good to look at (with cinematography by Stanley Kubrick regular John Alcott, no less), features an appropriately grandiose score as well as remarkable make-up effects (by Rick Baker) – and, while essentially disappointing as a Tarzan outing, retains considerable value nonetheless as a prestige picture of its day.

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Adventure | Drama

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