Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966)

ROBERT DAY

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

/USA, 1966. . Screenplay by , based on characters created by . Cinematography by . Produced by . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

After producing a series of Tarzan films with Gordon Scott and Jock Mahoney, Sy Weintraub went to Central America and shot three adventures in a row, with former NFL star portraying the famed jungle dweller first dreamt up by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912 (Weintraub would later also produce the Tarzan television series with Ron Ely). Looking to cash in on the popularity of both the James Bond franchise and the peplum films that were dominating screens at the time, this one begins with an action scene straight out of a spy movie as Tarzan arrives in Mexico in a fitted suit to greet the authorities who have invited him there, and then is attacked by shady characters in an empty stadium where his wielding a giant Coke bottle turns out to be more than just refreshing but life-saving as well. Once safely in the offices of the local police, Tarzan is told that a young boy  sporting a golden necklace () emerged from the jungle and encountered modern civilization, and when asked about his origins, stated that he came from the Valley of Gold. An international criminal named Vinero () has also heard this story and wants to kidnap the boy in order to find his birthplace and collect its treasures for himself but Tarzan, thankfully, gets to the kid first, and leads him home in the hopes of convincing his anti-war community to defend themselves against an impending threat. This means that man and boy have to trek through the jungle with their trusty crew while constantly having to outrun the bad guys following them; why our hero needs to strip off his suit and get into a tiny loincloth isn’t properly explained, particularly considering that he never swings from a single vine in this one and he isn’t actually living among animals (though he does have his pet lion and chimpanzee alongside him for the help they offer him in dicey situations). There’s no need to complain about a film that is such nonsense, though, as the beefcake star looks great in his skivvies and the film, while clearly stretching its few setpieces out to keep the budget low, is lighthearted fun and never takes itself seriously enough to deserve ridicule.

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