Sunday Matinee: Tarzan and the Great River

Tarzan and the Great RiverJock Mahoney moved from Tarzan villain to Tarzan for the next film, 1962’s Tarzan Goes to India.

Here Tarzan is up against evil white men trying to build a dam and flood a nature preserve. He can’t stop the dam but he tries to save a herd of elephants lead by a rogue elephant. The men building the dam want to stop Tarzan because, they’re evil I guess. Mahoney makes for an older, skinner Tarzan and the film is pretty weak.

Mahoney’s next Tarzan film, Tarzan’s Three Challenges would be his last. Mahoney got violently ill while making the film in Thailand and it shows. The plot has Tarzan arriving in an unnamed Asian country to escort a young boy who will be the next king of the country on a treacherous journey as part of his ascending to the throne. Evil Woody Strode is trying to stop them. Naturally some challenges come up.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a02Lz1e2xpA

With James Bond becoming a worldwide cultural phenomena, the producers decided to make Tarzan a little more Bond like for the next film. I’ve already written about Tarzan and the Valley of Gold on a previous Sunday Matinee here. So I’ll jump to the next film.

Mike Henry had been cast as Tarzan and he shot three films back to back that were released over a couple of years. The various injuries he occurred while shooting the movies (a chimpanzee bit his face, etc.) prompted him to quit the series when they wanted him to do a TV show too. After Valley of Gold, the next film Tarzan and the Great River had Tarzan fighting an evil jaguar cult in Brazil. It’s not bad, the last film Henry did Tarzan and the Jungle Boy is pretty weak with Tarzan searching for a boy who has grown up in the jungle.



Ron Ely succeeded Henry and took an the role for the TV series that lasted two seasons. A couple of those episodes were edited together to make 1970’s Tarzan’s Deadly Silence which ended the long running film series with 29 movies. James Bond has some catching up to do. There wouldn’t be another live action Tarzan movie until 1981’s crapfest Tarzan the Ape Man. 1984’s Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes was a massive step up and one of the few films that tried to stay close to the original novel. After that though Tarzan has been confined to bad TV series and cheesy animated features. There is a new film on the horizon for 2016 but I don’t much hope for it if the last few features are anything to go by.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAv0qgcP2UM

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.