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Films: G is for...

Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes

We recall being offered the chance, on a friend’s birthday way back, to go and see a film at the ABC in Glasgow. Would it be Bacon-and-Loggins fest Footloose, or this? We chose this and we have no idea why. In addition to yer actual Lambert we also have a memorable turn by Sir Rich Ralphardson playing a mental old duffer – just a wee cameo part, then – Alan ‘End Of The Pier’ Wells, Ian ‘bottom of a bloody well!’ Holms, David ‘close personal friend’ Suchet and Richard ‘Ffizz’ Griffiths.



  1. Paul Gatenby

    March 13, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Razoire! Mirroire!

  2. THX 1139

    May 7, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Still think of Sir Ralph’s final words in this: “Bumpity bumpity bumpity bump!” What a good thing (?) he had Give My Regards to Broad Street to end on, or those would have been the last words he ever spoke on screen.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    January 11, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Surprised no one has mentioned the soft porn Tarzan revival with Bo Derek from 1981 that enraged the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs and was a load of embarassing piffle. Luckily Greystoke revived the franchise’s fortunes and was a good film, although I’m still a big fan of the studio bound RKO films from the 1940s.

  4. Andrew Barton

    October 13, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Andie McDowell also features as Christopher Lambert’s love interest Jane.

    However Hugh Hudson, the director, didn’t think her South Carolina accent suited Jane at all so an uncredited Glenn Close dubbed over Andie’s voice later.

  5. Richardpd

    October 13, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Luckily Christopher Lambert had a good excuse for sounding odd, & seems to spend a lot of this going “Ooh!” & other simian sounds.

    Does anyone remember the 1990s BBC adaptation? I can remember the trailers had Tarzan sitting on a billiard table drinking soup from a bowl being held by his feet!

    • Andrew Barton

      October 14, 2021 at 10:54 am

      Can’t recall the BBC version, but there was a syndicated American series called Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, with Joe Lara in the title role.

      There was to have been a second season with another actor replacing Lara, but the distribution company went bankrupt. After it’s demise, Lydie Denier joined the cast of a revamped Acapulco H.E.A.T (most of the original cast was junked save for Alison Armitage and Michael Worth, and the theme tune was changed to a Euro-dance version) and Andrew Divoff went on to Wishmaster.

      • Andrew Barton

        October 14, 2021 at 11:02 am

        Lydie Denier had also been in a previous syndicated Tarzan series prior to the Joe Lara one.

        Wolf Larson played the main role in that, and after that ended he went on to play Chester McDonald in the TV series LA Heat. LA Heat, just like the Lara Tarzan one, didn’t last long due to the production company suffering financial problems.

  6. Droogie

    October 13, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    @ Glenn Aylett. I unfortunately watched the Bo Derek Tarzan movie recently due to a mix of insomnia and going down a YouTube rabbit hole and had forgotten what a dreadfully tacky movie it was. I recall watching it on Betamax as a hormonal teenager in the 80’s and being disappointed at how awful it was then too. For a supposed sex symbol, Bo Derek had all the charisma of a wheelie bin. The end titles of the movie are rather disturbing too with Tarzan and Bo play-wrestling nude with Cheetah ( who’s an orangutan here rather than a chimp.)

    • Andrew Barton

      October 14, 2021 at 6:58 pm

      The Bo Derek one was directed by her husband John, which is why he probably wanted to cast her in it anyway.

      The screenwriter was Gary Goddard, who went on to direct the film version of Masters of The Universe, one of the films of Golan-Globus, the masters of low budget cheesy films like Ninja 3 The Domination etc.

      • THX 1139

        October 14, 2021 at 10:12 pm

        Gary Goddard also famous for having multiple child sexual assault allegations made against him. ER star Anthony Edwards claimed Goddard molested him for years. Nothing seems to have come of it, though.

        • Andrew Barton

          October 14, 2021 at 11:18 pm

          His Gary Goddard Entertainment company was rebranded soon after he quit due to the abuse allegations. It’s now called Legacy Entertainment.

          Was he indicted on these allegations? Not sure if he was.

    • Sidney Balmoral James

      October 14, 2021 at 9:44 pm

      I’ve not seen that Tarzan film for an age – I presume no one has ever seen it twice! – but I do remember Richard Harris at his career nadir playing Bo’s father and getting impaled on an elephant tusk.

  7. George White

    October 14, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Trying to figure out what this BBC Tarzan was.
    Joe Lara first played Tarzan in a 1989 TVM, Tarzan in Manhattan aired by BBC in 1990, Jane’s a cabbie and her dad is an ex-PI, played by Tony Curtis. He was replaced for the oncoming series by Larson, which was a French-Mexican coproduction.

    • Andrew Barton

      October 14, 2021 at 6:45 pm

      As I mentioned here up in the comments, Lydie Denier was in the Larson series too, prior to joining the Lara one later.

      As I also mentioned, Wolf Larson after this show went on to star in LA Heat as Chester McDonald, alongside Steven Williams from 21 Jump Street and The Equalizer, Dawn Radenbaugh (nope, me neither), and Renee Tennison (nope,me neither).

      It was when Richard Pepin and Joseph Merhi’s PM Entertainment, then known for Gary Daniels films and CIA:Code Name Alexa with Lorenzo Lamas, O.J Simpson and Kathleen Kinmont (Lamas’s real life wife at the time, and the real life daughter of Abby Dalton, who played his on-screen mother in Falcon Crest), decided they wanted to move into television production.

      LA Heat only lasted 2 seasons because PM Entertainment were in financial trouble. (Pepin and Merhi would sell to new owners later). Apparently LA Heat was so successful overseas, particularly in Germany, where it was popular than that other LA-based series Baywatch, but then they like anything.

  8. Richardpd

    October 14, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    I’m wondering if the 1990s BBC was an import or another drama about a man who grew up away from civilisation.

    • Andrew Barton

      October 14, 2021 at 11:29 pm

      The WB in their dying days prior to the merging into The CW did a version of Tarzan too.

      Australia’s Travis Fimmel, known at the time for parading around in Calvin Klein underwear, took on the title role, while Sarah Jane Callies, later known for The Walking Dead, took on the Jane role.

      Unfortunately it was another flop for the WB, lasting just 8 episodes.

      For Travis Fimmel too, he didn’t get the big success out of it. Meanwhile his co-stars did well – Sarah Jane Callies went on to Prison Break and The Walking Dead, Leighton Meester went on to Gossip Girl, and Mitch Pileggi and Lucy Lawless, already established, continued to get work after Tarzan’s failure.

      Eric Kripke, who was the guy behind this version, went on to create Supernatural, which was launched towards the end of The WB’s life, and was one of the few WB shows transferred to The CW. By the time it went off the air, it was the last surviving show from The WB.

  9. George White

    October 15, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Do you remember the 90s Tarzan being a period piece? Was he long-haired?

  10. Glenn Aylett

    October 15, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    Johnny Weissmuller for me, the best Tarzan ever and very much of the Cream era as the BBC always showed his films during the seventies school holidays. Tarzan Triumphs is a classic wartime propaganda piece where Tarzan takes on a group of Nazis who try to take over his jungle and kills them off one at a time.

    • THX 1139

      October 15, 2021 at 11:22 pm

      “Now Tarzan make war!”

  11. Glenn Aylett

    October 16, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    @ THX 1139, a classic like all the Weissmuller films, New York Adventure is another classic with the hilarious scene where Cheetah goes into the changing rooms in the department store. Also worth a look is Tarzan And The Leopard Woman about a leopard cult involving 1940s pin up Acquinetta.

  12. Richardpd

    October 12, 2023 at 10:36 pm

    Sorry for the late reply!

    The above trailer was a period piece from what I remember, with the main character having long hair.

    Coming back to this film, there was a time in the 1990s when it was shown a lot on TV, almost as much as Starman & The Last Starfighter got brought out whenever BBC1 had a couple of hours to fill up.

  13. Glenn Aylett

    October 14, 2023 at 11:05 am

    It was a good film and if anything, Tarzan has had some stayiog power, being a cinematic and televisual regular for over 90 years. Not seen now, but I liked the cartoon series from the seventies.

  14. Richardpd

    October 14, 2023 at 10:15 pm

    That’s true with Johnny Weissmuller’s war cry being spoofed for decades whenever someone has to swing on a rope or something similar.

    • George White

      October 15, 2023 at 11:05 am

      And of course being imitated by Sir Jimmy Savile OBE KCGS NONCE.
      Incidentally, two Tarzans were nonces – Lex Barker and Jock Mahoney both sexually assaulted their underage stepdaughters Cheryl Crane (daughter of Barker’s wife Lana Turner) and Sally Field respectively.

  15. Sidney Balmoral James

    October 15, 2023 at 8:44 am

    Just noticed the listing refers to an Alan Wells – should be John Wells! What I always found odd about this film was the scene in which a bunch of nutty derelicts, living like characters from a Graham Greene novel, on the edge of civilization in Africa, led by Ian Charleson, try to cane Ian Holm, only for Tarzan to attack them. There is a clever touch in that one of the group is Richard Griffiths, a survivor of the original ship wreck, but its an odd moment.It’s a classic example of an actor, prominent in the credits (in this case Ian Charleson), who is in a film for literally seconds. Others include Anthony Higgins in Raiders, and Scream and Scream Again, in which Peter Cushing is third billed, and is in a single, short scene (without Lee or Price).

  16. Richardpd

    October 15, 2023 at 10:16 pm

    It seems common to over-bill actors only having a small part in a film if they are better known for other things. One film from the mid 1990s has Jennifer Lopez in briefly, but after she became popular as a singer the VHS & DVD releases started to bill her prominently

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