Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tarzan as Bond...James Bond

I usually try to wait until I've finished watching a movie before I write about it but I'm only a few minutes into TARZAN THE VALLEY OF GOLD (1966) and I have to let folks know something. I have never seen a film so unexpectedly and strangely warped by the incredible popularity of the James Bond movies in the 1960s. I have always been fascinated by the huge surge of Bond into the pop culture during that time and my love of the cheap knock-offs of the Euro-spy genre are fueled by that fact. There was a lot of bleed over into various movies as the Spy fiction fad blew up but to have this well produced Tarzan film start off like it does still really threw me for a loop. For the first 20 minutes or so Tarzan is dressed in a nice suit, flying around in a helicopter, engaging in a gunfight and generally acting like a secret agent more than a jungle man. Not that I'm complaining. Tarzan is presented as a smart man with plenty of know-how, modern savvy and the ability to go where he likes which is much better than the way he is usually portrayed. Mike Henry looks the part quite well especially once he goes native and lopes off into the Mexican jungle. Strange that they didn't call this TARZAN GOES TO MEXICO. Seems like a natural title.

I hope the rest of the movie is as interesting as the first third. Who knew I was going to wade back into the Euro-Spy genre with Lord Greystoke?

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