One of the main points of Greystoke is that the $33 million pic adheres much more closely to the original Edgar Rice Burroughs story than have the countless previous screen tellings of Tarzan stories.
While a little obligatory vine swinging is on view, this is principally the tale of the education of the seventh Earl of Greystoke, first by the family of apes which raises a stranded white child and eventually accepts him as its protector and leader, then by a Belgian explorer who teaches him language, and finally by the aristocracy of Britain, which attempts to make him one of their own. With the exception of the warm, slightly batty Ralph Richardson, nearly all the Englishmen on view are impossible, offensive snobs.
Christopher Lambert is a different sort of Tarzan. Tall, lean, firm but no muscleman, he moves with great agility and mimics the apes to fine effect.
Ian Holm is helpfully energetic as the enterprising Belgian, James Fox is the personification of stiff propriety, and Andie MacDowell [voiced by actress Glenn Close] smiles her way through as the eternally sympathetic Jane.
On a production level, film is a marvel, as fabulous Cameroon locations have been seamlessly blended with studio recreations of jungle settings.
[Pic was released in a 138-min. version in continental Europe. Director’s personal cut runs 158 mins.]
1984: Nominations: Best Supp. Actor (Ralph Richardson), Adapted Screenplay, Makeup