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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>
A terrific first half, a downer second half, then a great ending
I really liked the first part of this film in Africa for about an hour or so until the animal cruelty by civilized humans in Scotland got to me in the second half and made me so sad I couldn't watch some of it. However, this was done by the filmmaker to make a point that early natural scientists ruined everything alive they didn't understand by "studying" it literally to death without considering the rights and comfort of the animals studied, which we know now shouldn't be studied anywhere but in the natural world they inhabit, and as unobtrusively as possible. I do recommend this film as it was a mostly serious and honest story of Tarzan and made a point of showing the gross animal cruelty that was rampant in the 19th century scientific world as well as the pure and simple, beautifully primitive life Tarzan lived as a young man who was found as a baby and raised by chimps after the violent death of his parents in the African jungle.
Christopher Lambert was wonderful and very soulful in his life of Tarzan role, as was Ralph Richardson in his last film role as Tarzan's ultra-rich, nobility-reeking gramps in Scotland. Andy MacDowell was pretty and pretty good as Tarzan's gussied-up and civilized "Jane" in her first movie role. From his charismatic work in this film and his very haunting eyes, I cannot understand why Lambert did not later become a big star, but his really bad movie choices later may have done him in. The terrific Ian Holm, as a wounded Frenchman in Africa helped by Tarzan and who then escorted Tarzan back to his previously unknown, ancestral home in Scotland, was great as always.
I am so glad Tarzan got sick of and didn't stay in the animal-cruel civilized world at that time and went home to Africa in the end to live out his life with his gentle and loving ape "relatives" who raised him instead of staying in Scotland and living like royalty, which would have ruined him if it didn't kill him first.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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