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A shipping disaster in the 19th Century has stranded a man and woman in the wilds of Africa. The lady is pregnant, and gives birth to a son in their tree house. Soon after, a family of apes stumble across the house and in the ensuing panic, both parents are killed. A female ape takes the tiny boy as a replacement for her own dead infant, and raises him as her son. Twenty years later, Captaine Phillippe D'Arnot discovers the man who thinks he is an ape. Evidence in the tree house leads him to believe that he is the direct descendant of the Earl of Greystoke, and thus takes it upon himself to return the man to civilization. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
SPOILERS Edgar Rice Burroughs's famous character was adapted thousand of times for the screen til one's thirst is quenched, notably during the thirties and the forties by Hollywood. Its productors made Tarzan one of the most successful cinema characters. Several years later, Hugh Hudson decided to make a more ambitious version of the monkey-man and it's a more natural, more wild and more down-to-earth Tarzan that he gives away here. Hudson skilfully avoids the clichés that you usually grant to Tarzan such as his famous scream or his friendly pet, Cheetah. Not only, are we far from the designed and invented character made by Hollwood but we are also far from the film set used to make his stories. The movie was partly made in Africa (more precisely in Cameroon). The movie introduces two obvious parts: the first one which takes place in the jungle where Tarzan lives among his adoptive friends, the apes and considers himself as their lord. But he ignores his real origins. The second one in England where Tarzan discovers the English society. Ian Holm epitomizes the link between the two parts and Hudson avoids all that could make the movie falls into the ridiculous thanks to a clever screenplay. Indeed, Holm teaches Lambert basic rules of manners so as to behave correctly in the English society and the result works. Moreover, in the second part, no-one ever laughs at Tarzan and he's even really appreciated. As far as the end is concerned well it's a both bitter and happy end. Happy because Tarzan comes back to the jungle and meets again his adoptive close relatives. But bitter too, because this homecoming means that the Greystoke line won't be ensured and is condemned to disappear... Christophe Lambert finds here, his first (and last?) great role. Sadly, he'll never equal the achievement of his performance in this movie and he'll play in poor and insipide action movies. Nevertheless, as I said previously, a clever screenplay, a performance of a rare quality, some impressive natural sceneries (both the jungle and the English country and we get a gorgeous movie. It's also an excellent rereading from a popular novel. So why is it only rated barely (6/10)?
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