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"Tarzan and the Valley of Gold" is one of the most bizarre and
entertaining movies I have seen in quite a while. A number of questions
come to mind, not the least of which was When exactly did Tarzan learn
how to operate a tank in battle?
The answer is rooted in the objective of the film, which was to update Tarzan to compete with James Bond. Since 007 is naturally familiar with all methods of transport and can successfully employ any firearm ever made, it should go without saying that Tarzan would be just as handy with whatever means are at his disposal. He could probably disarm a nuke and target missiles to blast each other in midair too if the plot depended on it.
Some have questioned why Tarzan would travel to Mexico dressed in a suit, and I challenge that with basic knowledge of Edgar Rice Borroughs' novels where Tarzan at one point travels to America to find Jane and then settles down with her at the Greystoke Estate in England -- do people think he went all that distance in a loincloth?
Mike Henry is great as Tarzan. In the first six minutes of the movie he shoots a guy in the face during a botched assassination attempt, then crushes another guy under a giant Coca-Cola bottle in what has to be the most clever product placement I've seen in a movie since James Bond back-flipped an opponent into a stack of empty Red Stripe Lager boxes.
The film is exceedingly violent. I would put a rough estimate of the body count at about fifty, including the innocent peasants gunned down by the evil crime syndicate's henchmen. Tarzan himself wipes out about forty guys including three goons in a helicopter he takes out in a wonderful ripoff of "From Russia With Love"'s famous helicopter duel. Instead of just shooting the pilot Tarzan rigs a bolo using a couple of grenades and hooks it around the engine block. Those jungle skills pay off in the most unusual ways.
Tarzan is of course dispatched to Mexico to get into a game of wits with an evil crime syndicate boss whose forces have kidnapped a young boy to give young boys in the audience someone to identify with -- this is a family adventure film, we remind ourselves, as Tarzan uses a Browning Automatic Rifle to machine gun down a bunch of thugs in a cave, blows up a truck full of men, and then asphyxiates the big evil goon character in the film's showdown by half-Nelsoning the guy to death.
He is the perfect Vietnam War era action hero, so de-sensitized to carnage & suffering that all he can manage to come up with to console the young boy with is "Hey, what's all this now? " when the kid starts crying out of concern that his people will be massacred by the guys in the tanks. Some of them are but nobody really seems to care about it that much, and in the concluding wrapping it all up speech the tribal leader admits that sometimes you need to resort to violence after all.
The Mike Henry Tarzan films are apparently a body of work that were so dangerous for the performers to make that Henry very understandably declined to work on the Ron Ely Tarzan television show of the same era after Dinky the Chimp bit Henry in the jaw on the set of the next adventure, requiring twenty stitches to sew up and giving Henry a case of "Chimp Fever" that took him out of the production for three weeks while he recovered. Just what Chimp Fever is I have no idea and even less interest to learn.
The issue of unsafe work conditions is even further underscored by Ron Ely's string of injuries incurred while he worked on the TV show, and looking at the hands on approach to the stunt work evident in this movie it's a miracle that nobody was killed making these films. This is one of those movies that make you wonder just what the HELL people were thinking when they cooked it up: Out of control helicopters, live ammunition, explosions going off right next to the star performers, you name it.
I will agree that Mike Henry does make a fabulous Tarzan, and to remind us of just who the hero was they even let him swing on a couple of vines, though I was disappointed that he never gave that famous Tarzan yell ... though then again since there are no elephants native to Mexico to stampede the effect would have been gratuitous.
And yet there is something hypnotically watchable about the film, including a marvelous sequence where a jaguar sets off in search of the boy & Tarzan trots along behind with a wonderful little jazz music score twittering in the background. The makers of this movie were definitely onto something and it's too bad the franchise sort of petered out, leaving it up to the Italians to continue with their own unofficial series with names like Tarzak, Zambo, and Zan, which are no more silly, improbable, or entertaining than this movie.
And had more women. There is only one in this whole film and while she is a comely little lass Tarzan seems about as fascinated by her as he is by that Coke bottle he pushes over on the assassin in the beginning of the movie. Is he so smitten by Jane that the thought of intimately interacting with another woman never enters his mind? As the credits roll they walk off into the sunset, and something tells me he never busted a move on her. In any event it's immensely entertaining and Tarzan saves the day with just a good rope, a hunting knife, and a soft piece of leather. Sounds kinky.
The picture concerns a tidy Tarzan (a bouncing Mike Henry) well suited
with necktie and elegant and carrying a briefcase . But a nasty
assassin named Vinaro (the distinguished secondary David Opatoshu)
schemes heinous plans . He abducts a little boy (Manuel Padilla) . Thus
Tarzan , now in his loincloth , heads to jungle in order to save the
spunky ten-years-old-boy and gets into trouble with bad guy , an evil
with six feet high named Mr Train (the habitual villain Don Megowan) .
Meanwhile , avaricious mercenaries with tanks , a little army and
helicopters are going to the lost city of gold . The criminal Vinaro is
accompanied by a beautiful girl named Sophia (attractive Nancy Kovack ,
nowadays married to Zubin Metha) who is leaved with an explosive
necklace . The treasure seekers wish they hadn't messed with the
The movie is dubiously faithful to Edgar Rice Borroughs story . However , it contains noisy action , sensational adventures , wonderful outdoors and with some elements from James Bond films . The sets and production design are visually appealing . Film was shot in city of Mexico with background of the famous Aztecas pyramids and temples . As usual , there are the obvious uses of stock footage in many of the wild animal sequences though with the intervention of a well trained lion and a chimpanzee ex-professed for the film . The film was produced by Sy Weintraub (substituting former producer Sol Lesser) , he produced three for Mike Henry directed by Robert Day : ¨Tarzan and the jungle boy ¨ and ¨The great river¨ and this one. Besides , he produced two for Jock Mahoney : ¨Three challenges¨ and ¨Tarzan goes to India (directed by John Guillermin)¨ and two for Gordon Scott (recently deceased) :¨Tarzan the Magnificent¨ and ¨The greatest adventure (by John Guillermin)¨. Also he produced the classic TV series with Ron Ely and the little boy , Manuel Padilla Jr ,in this one as co-starring.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not much I can add to the review of "Tarzan & The Valley of Gold"
hasn't already been said (yup, it's a '60's "James Bond in a
cloth" film) except for the fact that "Tarzan & The Valley of Gold"
TWO different endings, depending on which edited version you're
Okay, "Spoiler Warning." That given, one version has the end credits rolling right after Mike Henry & Nancy Kovac wave goodbye to the Incas at Tucomare (& the inhabitants all come out to see him off.)
However, another version DOESN'T end there. It ends with Tarzan (Mike Henry) flirting a bit with Nancy Kovac (who flirts back), while offering her another (exploding) wrist-watch! (The flirting was another James Bond touch. You'd never see Johnny Weismuller do that! Of course, Weismuller's Tarzan wasn't exactly articulate.) Henry then takes out the villain's exploding mercury from the briefcase & blows up the cav entrance to Tucomare, commenting to Kovac that "Perhaps if nobody finds them for a while, the world will have time to catch up with them."
(Meaning, "catch up" with Tucomare's peaceful philosophy.)
Hmmm. This Tarzan also knows how to handle chemicals (like mercury) & is a philosopher, too!
Definitely NOT Johnny Weismuller!
If you "dig" '60's "camp" like I do, then "Tarzan & The Valley of Gold"
is definitely worth taping whenever it's shown on tv.
Ex-L.A. Rams linebacker Mike Henry makes his debut as Tarzan in this 1960s adventure. His arrival in Mexico wearing a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase is quite jarring, as is his subsequent "James Bond style" gunfight. But, not to fear, this is just to show us that this Tarzan is handy with modern weapons and is at ease in any environment. He does go into the jungle(in his loincloth)accompanied by a couple of wild animals and this is where the film gets interesting. He has to find the legendary Valley of Gold and protect its citizens from greedy villain Vinaro(David Opatashu) and his well organized(not to mention armed-to-the-teeth) army. The story is a little hokey at times, and seeing Tarzan use guns, grenades and a tank is a little hard to take, but overall the characterizations are good and the Mexican scenery is nothing short of spectacular(especially the Aztec pyramid city).Opetashu is perfect as the smooth, slick villain who sends his enemies exploding wristwatches. Henry is a little serious as Tarzan but he does excel in the action sequences. On the whole a groovy movie experience( jazzy musical score and all).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've gotta admit that I've always liked the high tech Tarzan, as personified by Mike Henry, better than any of the others (although Gordon Scott comes in a close second). Henry could've (and should've) played Batman or Superman: he had the "built-in body armor" that any good superhero worth his tights should have- and he could act well enough to pull it off, too (despite what some critics seem to think, he comes across as a cerebral savage who vacillates between the contemporary, "civilized" man and the cave man). A buddy of mine tells me that Henry wanted to play Doc Savage; in my opinion, it would've been a perfect fit. (The soon-to-be-doomed) Dinky never really comes close to stealing the show in TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD, but he does a commendable job in what turns out to have been his swan song. All things considered, TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD is a lot of fun and the one Tarzan movie I can recommend without reservations.
David Opatoshu one of the most distinguished actors of the Yiddish
Theater back in the day came to Hollywood rather late in his career. In
doing so however he created a series of varied and distinguished roles.
But none I liked better than his playing of international criminal
David Vinaro in Tarzan and the Valley of Gold.
Tarzan's been sent for by the Guatamalen government because a mysterious young boy played by Manuel Padilla, Jr. emerges from the jungle saying he's from a lost city that has vast uncounted gold. Of course that interests Opatoshu and he kidnaps the kid and forces him to lead a well armed expedition back to the lost city.
Of course they're no match for Tarzan as played in this film by Mike Henry. In addition to his jungle skills, Henry has a good command of both the Queen's English and of modern weaponry which he demonstrates during the film. He also in the end gets Nancy Kovack who is Opatoshu's mistress out of harm's way. Naturally she likes the idea after one look at Henry in a loin cloth.
Still Tarzan and the Valley of Gold belongs to David Opatoshu. He clearly loves the part he has and the end he meets in the Lost City is a poetical one to beat all.
Perhaps the makers of this film thought it was time to update Tarzan and
cash in on the secret agent craze that swept movies and television in the
60's. In this picture Tarzan played by Mike Henry is first seen stepping out
of a helicopter in a suit and tie carrying a briefcase. Later he engages in
a gun battle ala James Bond.
Eventually he ends up back in the jungle sheds his coat and tie along with his pistol for his loin cloth and knife and takes on the bad guys who are equipped with machine guns, tanks and hi-tech explosives. Actually this Tarzan film although not one of the best is a great deal more entertaining than the 1981 Tarzan The Ape Man with Bo Derek. Along as his sidekicks are Manuel Padilla Jr who takes on the "BOY" role with the name of Remel and Nancy Kovacks who becomes sort of his Jane decked out in sexy female jungle safari clothes. His chimpanzee buddy goes by the name "Dinky". If your a Tarzan fan this film should be included in your viewing keeping in mind that the Tarzan character like Superman has been able to adjust to change through out the decades.
American International Pictures,the studio founded in the mid-1950's by
Samuel Z. Arkoff and his business partner James H. Nicholson were known
for there style of "B" movie pictures,mostly the occasional genre of
films that they released which were "teenage juvenile","horror and
monster flicks",and the "beach movies",not to mention the movies that
featured the works of Edgar Allan Poe that were produced by Roger
Corman(the studio that launched the careers of unknowns Jack Nicholson
and Bruce Dern not to mention reinvented Annette Funicello's career
after her stint with Disney,and made Vincent Price its top box office
star,and also launched the careers of Pam Grier and Fred Williamson
By 1966,American International Pictures took on a new venture..this time around the first-ever "Tarzan" motion picture that was filmed on location and brought with it a new style of high adventure and excitement. That picture was titled "Tarzan And The Valley of Gold",the 34th entry into the "Tarzan" franchise,and the first to star former NFL-great Mike Henry(who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams)in his theatrical debut as the "Lord Of The Jungle". Mike Henry replaces Jock Mahoney in the series. Mike Henry gets to do more things as Tarzan in "The Valley of Gold" than any other Tarzan that came before or after him. Not to mention this version is the more exciting of the series,and not since Johnny Weissmuller or Gordon Scott you have never seen "Tarzan" like this before,and more,all at a running time of 92 minutes tops. The movie begins with Tarzan(Mike Henry)arriving in Mexico wearing a custom-made suit and tie and carrying a briefcase as he is ambush in a stadium by assassins out to kill him in the style of the "James Bond" films. Second in the most exciting and incredible scenes in the film Mike Henry's character hurls a gigantic Coca-Cola bottle onto a sniper that is trying to kill him. Later on after he disses the suit and tie for loincloth accompanied by a chimp and a his pet lion,our hero goes into the hostile jungle where he slings a rope with two hand grenades attached to that land onto the rotor blades of a helicopter(in one of the most astounding action scenes ever filmed),and later on Tarzan gets behind the wheel of a tank and blasts away the villains.
Tarzan must also rescue a little boy named Ramel(Manuel Padilla, Jr.,who would also appear as Jai in the "Tarzan" television series starring Ron Ely during the mid-1960's and was a versatile child actor throughout) from a thoroughly evil but sadistic wealthy international criminal,Augustus Vinero(David Opatoshu),who likes to surprise his adversaries by installing small explosive charges into wristwatches,rings,and necklaces to blow up people. Not to mention has to rescue that damsel in distress(Nancy Kovack) from the evil villain and not to mention Tarzan has a dual to the death with a fight against the villain's hencemen,an Odd-Job type character. The death scene of the hencemen and the villain is fitting,but Mike Henry makes a great Tarzan character in a franchise that desperately needed to shot in the arm after the last Tarzan venture came out some three years before with Jock Mahoney in the title role.
"Tarzan And The Valley of Gold" was action-packed with non stop excitement and high adventure,and director Robert Day along with producer Sy Weintraub kept the action sequences at a good pace. The locations where the movie was filmed included were not far from scenic Acapulco,at Plaza de Toros in Mexico City,and at the Chapultepec Castle,and the Teotihuacan ruins,and the in the caves at Guerro. The screenplay by Clair Huffaker was an above-average and a change of pace for the franchise not to mention the film was given the full widescreen "Panavision" treatment. Despite mixed reviews when this movie came out on July 8,1966, "Tarzan And The Valley of Gold" did tremendous business at the box office,becoming American International's first and only attempt at a "Tarzan" movie and their highest grossing picture in the history of the studio. Robert Day would direct the next two to the last "Tarzan" films in the franchise both starring Mike Henry. Those would include "Tarzan And The Great River"(1967),and the last "Tarzan" theatrical feature "Tarzan And The Jungle Boy" (1968),both would be released by Paramount Pictures.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rugged former football linebacker Mike Henry gets to do more things as the Lord of the Apes in "Tarzan and the City of Gold" than any other Tarzan before or after him. First, he gets to wear a suit and tie and tote an attaché case. Second, he gets to hurl a gigantic Coco-Cola bottle onto a sniper trying to kill him. Later, he slings a rope with two hand grenades attached to it into the rotor blades of a helicopter. Finally, he commandeers a tank and blasts away at the villains. Tarzan must rescue a little boy, Ramel, (Manuel Padilla, Jr.) from a thoroughly evil but wealthy international criminal, Augustus Vinero (David Opatoshu), who likes to surprises his adversaries by installing small explosive charges into wristwatches, rings, and necklaces and blow up people. Tarzan flies into Mexico and plunges into the jungles to find the boy. Most critics classify this "Tarzan" epic as being influenced by the James Bond adventures. "Tarzan and the Great River" helmer Robert Day never lets the pace slow down, but some of the action in the finale is slack. The death scene of the villain is fitting. Mike Henry makes a good Tarzan who speaks in complete sentences. The film was lensed on location not far from scenic Acapulco, at Plaza de Toros in Mexico City, at the Chapultepec Castle, the Teotihuacan ruins, and in the caves at Guerro. The Clair Huffaker screenplay is an above-average change of pace for the franchise.
In terms of pure aesthetics Mike Henry is head and shoulders above all the other Tarzans. He looks the part more than anyone who's ever played it. This man's physique is a work of art, and he's not at all hard to look at. I defy anyone to take their eyes off him when he's on screen. He's perfectly cast, the story moves likes lightning, the action sequences are great(with even a nice touch of James Bond thrown in),this movie is well worth the price of rental or purchase(if you can find it).It's well worth it
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