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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. The mother dies soon after. An ape enters the house and kills the father, and 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When D'Arnot sharpens his straight razor before shaving Tarzan for the first time, a close-up of his hands shows him repeatedly flipping the straight razor the wrong way across the leather strop, blunting the blade. A 19th Century gentleman explorer of the would never make such a mistake. See more »
Greystoke stays close to the first Tarzan novel which makes for a striking contrast between this film and earlier Tarzan flicks.
'Christophe' sticks to his French accent for most of this film, which is a relief as he concentrates on his acting and, for the most part, gets it spot on. His reversion to ape behaviour in moments of emotional stress is funny and touching. Ralph Richardson's potrayal of the Sixth Earl is full of humour and subtlety, only to be expected from a master of the art. Ian Holm, again, a masterful performance. They put Andie MacDowell to shame.
The first half is mainly in the jungle and is fascinating to watch. A huge amount of research about ape behaviour is put to entertaining use. It comes to a close when some amusingly nasty English explorers and a disdainful Belgian appear in the jungle. The second half, when Johnny (Lambert) is introduced to Victorian society touches on what it means to be 'civilized'. He meets his grandfather and is expected to take his place in society but then discovers what society is like.
A great adaptation and an entertaining film.
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