Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tarzan Swings Again

 Someone forwarded me a link to an article in Variety about a possible new Tarzan film from Warner Brothers. Here's the premise:

"Years after he's re-assimilated into society, he (Tarzan) is asked by Queen Victoria to investigate the goings-on in the Congo. Tarzan teams with an ex-mercenary named George Washington Williams to save the Congo from a fierce warlord who controls a massive diamond mine."

   I'm fine with that as a plot. Sure, it isn't based on any of Edgar Rice Burroughs' actual Tarzan stories, but at least they're not filming the tired old origin story yet again. Thing is, some of my favorite Tarzan movies have had little to do with Burroughs' original tales. It's the character of Tarzan that concerns me much more than the plot. If he's portrayed the way ERB intended, I'm fine with a new adventure.
   In that respect, Tarzan has fared much better over the years than Robert E. Howard's Conan. Though the Johnny Weissmuller films didn't do much to bring the 'real' Tarzan to the screen, later movies, particularly those featuring Gordon Scott, Mike Henry, and Jock Mahoney went a long way towards bringing Burroughs' idea of an intelligent, articulate ape-man into cinemas. The 1960s Tarzan TV series starring Ron Ely was fairly close in many ways as well.
   If you've read the novels, then you know that by the fourth book, The Son of Tarzan, that the jungle lord had indeed been "re-assimilated into society" and was living in England as Lord Greystoke on his estate with his wife Jane and their son Jack (Korak). So that's fine, though in the books that would have been after the death of Queen Victoria. Still I think the producers are wise to keep Tarzan in the past, as to me, he's a character that doesn't work that well in the here and now.
   Anyway, I've been saying for years that I wished someone would make a Tarzan movie that wasn't an adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes. Handled properly, I think the ape-man could give the current crowd of action heroes a run for their money. Time will tell. If you want to read the entire Variety article, go here:

   The name being bandied about for the actor to portray Tarzan is Alexander Skarsgard. I have no idea who that is...


Cromsblood said...

Having just started to read the Tarzan novels for the first time in my life (I'm on the fourth one now) and enjoying them immensely, I'm pretty excited to hear about the prospects of an upcoming film.

My exposure to Tarzan at the cinema is pretty limited (Disney movies with the kids and the John/Bo Derek flick when it first came out)...just wondering if you have an absolute favorite that you might recommend Charles?


Charles R. Rutledge said...

Glad you're enjoying the books, sir. I've answered your question about my favorite movie in a post of its own.

Brett Brooks said...

Alexander Skarsgard is one of the regulars on the show True Blood. He was also recently in the Battleship movie. He's a pretty good actor, so he might be able to pull it off. Time will tell...


Charles R. Rutledge said...

Ah! Thanks, Brett.