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

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Jock Mahoney
Woody Strode as Khan
TARZAN'S THREE CHALLENGES (1963). Director: Robert Day.

When a new spiritual leader of an Asian nation is chosen after the death of the old one, Tarzan (Jock Mahoney) is summoned from Africa to be bodyguard to the little boy, Kashi (Ricky Der), who is the successor. The boy's uncle, Khan (Woody Strode), is desirous of the throne himself, although he claims he really wants it for his young son, Nari (Robert Hu), who is wiser and more compassionate than his father. To prove he is an able bodyguard, Tarzan must pass three challenges, and then is chosen to be Kashi's champion when Khan challenges him to a duel to the death. The movie has an exciting sword fight and an even better sabre duel, a horrific forest fire which seems to endanger the entire cast, and an exciting climactic battle above nets and pots of boiling oil. Mahoney [The Land Unknown], a former stunt man, does some excellent "extreme sports" stunts in this, and offers a professional acting performance; he just doesn't come off like Tarzan. Woody Strode* is sensational as Khan, giving a riveting and dynamic performance and exuding such charisma that you almost feel sorry for this essentially evil -- but somehow noble -- man. Strode also plays his own dying brother in early sequences. The two child actors are excellent.Well-photographed by Edward Scaife, the picture, filmed entirely in Thailand, boasts some impressive locations. And there's also a cute baby elephant named Hungry. Intelligent and literate for the most part, this is a very memorable Tarzan adventure. * For his part as Kahn, Strode was dubbed by George Pastell; the dubbing job is not apparent to the causal viewer.

Verdict: Exciting scenes and a strong performance from Strode. *** out of 4.

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