Thursday, February 25, 2016
Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963)
The film begins as the last film with Tarzan leaping from a plane into the adventure in Thailand. It seems Tarzan has to help a friend who he had met in Africa. It seems that he is need to get the successor of the kingdom to his coronation. The successor is chosen in a manner like the Dali Lama and the boy's uncle doesn't like that and he wants the position for his son. His plan to stop Tarzan is to have one of his men intercept him, allow Tarzan and the boy to get on the road and then kill him, but they don't know Tarzan and the whole thing becomes chase of sorts
At this point Tarzan's adventures began to resemble those of Maciste whose adventures were part of the swords and sandals cycle happening in Europe. Think about it, Tarzan like Maciste runs around in a loin cloth. Though set in modern day, we know this because of the plane, the swords and dress of the characters would lead one to believe this is a period piece. In a weird way the film reminded me of SAMSON AND THE SEVEN MIRACLES (aka Maciste at the Court of the Great Khan) which has the muscle man helping out in an Asian country.
The film has it's moments. Certainly the film is spectacular thanks to it having been shot in Thailand. And the action sequences when they come are great. Sequences like the fire, and the final battle between Tarzan and the evil and dubbed Woody Strode is great and I understand why that's what most people remember about the film.
And as great as the action sequences are the film over all isn't as good as it should be. There is way too much talk and too many travel sequences. The addition of the cute baby elephant wasn't needed, nor were the sequences showing the elephants lounging in the river. The film really could have been trimmed down by ten minutes or more.
While my feelings for the film are mixed, I love sections and like others, I still think this is good film and definitely worth seeing if you can see it big and widescreen.
Useless bit of information-Jock Mahoney who played Tarzan decided to swim across one of the rivers of Thailand in a show of machismo. Woody Strode warned him against it but he did it anyway and contracted various diseases which laid him up for the better part of two years and wrecked his health for the rest of his life. He dropped over 50 pounds during filming and if you watch Mahoney through the film you can see his body size change.