Name’s the same, but the character is counterfeit. Widespread appeal of the original primitive ape man will never be duplicated by his jet age descendant, an articulate, subdued, businesslike troubleshooter in the jungles of the world. Still, the 36th in the venerable screen series that began in 1918, and the first to be endowed with CinemaScope, has a large-scale production sheen and exotic faraway flavor – it was filmed entirely in India.
Loin-clothed hero aids a young elephant boy in the rescue of a pack of pachyderms callously doomed to be submerged under the waters of a giant new jungle reservoir. To do this, Tarzan must battle, tooth, nail and tusk, the uncooperative dispositions of both elephant and man, latter in the form of inflexibly cruel construction interests.
Jock Mahoney, who had a secondary role in the last edition (Tarzan the Magnificent), had graduated to the title character, a role he endows with admirable physique, dexterity and personality. A long-time film stunt man, Mahoney is the best Tarzan in years. Jai, the [real-life] Elephant Boy, a pint-sized modern variation of the ’30s Sabu, scores in a prominent role. Feroz Khan and Simi carry off a minor romantic interest.
Pic has been impressively produced. Cameraman Paul Beeson and art director George Provis have used the exotic picturesque locales and views of India’s Mysore Province to advantage.