Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

TARZAN AND THE JUNGLE BOY

Steve Bond and Mike Henry
TARZAN AND THE JUNGLE BOY (1968). Director: Robert Gordon.

Aggressive photojournalist Myrna (Aliza Gur) and her associate Ken (Ron Gans) approach Tarzan (Mike Henry) and tell him that a young boy disappeared seven years ago (making him approximately 13) and that while his geologist father was found dead, he may still be alive. Tarzan agrees to accompany the duo and makes it clear that it is to find the boy -- he couldn't care less about any photo spread. Tarzan and the others encounter a tribe whose leader has ordered a contest for his two sons to compete against each other, with the winner taking over the tribe. After a series of struggles and no clear victor, Nagambi (Rafer Johnson) tires to poison brother Buhara (Edward Johnson). When Tarzan comes to his rescue, Nagambi vows to kill not only his brother and Tarzan, but even the missing boy, Erik (Steve Bond), who has taken on the role of a Bomba-like character. Worse, Buhara tells Tarzan that despite his saving his life, tribal law dictates that any stranger who remains in their land will have to be put to death. That's gratitude for you! Tarzan and the Jungle Boy -- which is not an imitation or remake of Tarzan Finds a Son! despite claims to the contrary -- has an interesting premise (more concerning the brothers than the boy) as well as beautiful settings and widescreen color photography. Unfortunately it lacks suspense and tension, a feeling that something must be accomplished or else. Cheetah in this is obviously male and not especially cute, but Erik has a pet chimp named Hilda who is more on the mark. The best scene has Tarzan struggling to get his foot out of a giant clam, the only semi-fantastic element in the movie. Henry makes a more than competent Tarzan and certainly looks the part. Although Rafer and Edward Johnson play brothers in the movie, they were apparently not brothers in real life; Rafer was an Olympic champion. Steve Bond later became a soap star.

Verdict: Good-looking if minor Tarzan entry. **1/2.

3 comments:

angelman66 said...

Though I find Mike Henry very attractive and have enjoyed him in many films, I never accepted him as Tarzan. In my mind, Tarzan is always tall and blond - I don't know why!!
-C

angelman66 said...

That's Steve Bond? General Hospital. And one of the hottest Playgirl models of the early 1980s as well...Google it... ;-)
-Chris

William said...

Let's just say Steve Bond grew up nicely and leave it at that, LOL! Was Weissmuller actually blond? Who knew?