Greystoke; The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes


I actually saw Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes in the theatre back in the day. I thought it was a true masterpiece. At this time I’ve just seen some black and white Tarzan matinee flicks on Television. If they were with Johnny Weissmuller? I can’t really remember. But I remember sing som of these in color too. Maybe my mind playing tricks on me but I can remember watching these when there was no school. TV was great back then,

But going back to Greystoke. I will shorten myself and not write the entire title, I hope that it’s ok. What I loved so much about this movie was that we got more than an adventure movie in the jungle. We also got some background and later in the movie when Greystoke comes back to civilization. This influenced me, For the first time, I realized that Tarzan was a man from civilization and not just a wild man in the jungle. It became a movie more “true” to reality.

I actually haven’t seen Greystoke since then. I was afraid to, Maybe it would ruin my memories of it? Well, it kinda did. This is no masterpiece anymore. It’s a rather boring film at a slow pace. There are some great shots in there no doubt and Christopher Lambert rules in the title role. He just got that kind of looks that works with this wildman. H looks like he doesn’t understand the world most naturally. And it’s true, he doesn’t understand the world. British aristocracy and western civilization seem pretty uncivilized and cruel to him.

With the new light and water under the bridges since my theatre-going days, I was a bit disappointed. I like the social comment about where the ‘real’ civilization exists. It’s not far from what has been established in other “jungle” movies. Take Cannibal Holocaust as an example. The “savages” are most civilized than “white man”. It’s the same in Greystoke, but here it’s very much the environment itself. The jungle and the animals there are more trustworthy than dressed up British aristocracy. At least they are to Greystoke since he doesn’t understand the logic of this world.

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Tommy Snöberg Söderberg

Autodidact film scholar and music-loving thinker who reads the occasional book.

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