Wednesday, February 13, 2013


The Banton gang (Pa Abel, his particularly ruthless older son Coy, middle sons Ethan and Martin, and young Johnny) rob a mining company office in an African village and while getting away, kill an innocent bystander and a couple of policemen. Coy is already wanted dead or alive, and inspector Wyntors tracks him down in the jungle and handcuffs him, but on the river, he is ambushed by the rest of the gang and Wyntors is killed. Tarzan, who knew Wyntors, re-captures Coy, killing Ethan in the process, and takes Coy back to the village to transport him to Kairobi on the next boat, intending to claim the reward and give it to Wyntor's family. But very few in the village are willing to risk keeping Coy even overnight, knowing the vengeance that Abel will seek. Meanwhile the Bantons, figuring out Tarzan's plan, blow up the boat, killing the pilot and sending four travelers and the first mate to find their way to the village. When Tarzan decides to take Coy to Kairobi over land, the five survivors of the boat attack ask to come along and Tarzan reluctantly lets them. There's Tate, the heroic African first mate, Ames, a strutting blowhard who is really a coward, his wife Fay who is increasingly unhappy in her marriage, the disgraced but dignified American doctor Conway, and his young wife. The rest of the film follows their journey as they are followed by the Bantons. We see Ames and his wife fall further apart until she begins a flirtation with the handcuffed but still dangerous Coy. At one point, a tribe wants Tarzan to leave Coy to their justice, but when Conway is able to help the chief's wife through a rough childbirth, the chief lets them go on. Eventually, the Bantons catch up with Tarzan's group and gunplay and fisticuffs winnow down the gang until Tarzan and Coy have it out mano a mano along the river.

This was Gordon Scott's last Tarzan film and it's very similar to the previous film in the series, TARZAN’S GREATEST ADVENTURE: no Jane and no romance for Tarzan, no Cheeta, and this time, not even the famous jungle yell. The tone is serious and the violence is blunt: one man is shot dead, falls in the river, and is dragged to the bottom by a crocodile; later, Johnny tries to rape Conway's wife and Tarzan ends up shooting him in the face. It's not graphic by today's standards, but might have been a bit shocking to kiddie matinee attendees of the early 60s. Scott is good, though perhaps because of the grimmer material he's not as much fun as in the previous film. Jock Mahoney (in the middle in the picture at left) is suitably nasty as Coy—he would go on to take over the Tarzan role from Scott for the next two movies. John Carradine is fine as the grimy father, Al Mulock gets a nice scene near the end when he finally tells his dad off for ruining his son's lives, and Gary Cockrell provides eye candy as the youngest son—he gets an "And introducing…" credit in the beginning of the movie, but except for his good looks, doesn't really stand out in the cast. An admirable attempt to make the Tarzan franchise more appealing to adults, though I don’t think the Jock Mahoney movies followed through I’ll find out soon because I've got one Mahoney's movies on deck. [DVD]

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