|Movie Review: Tarzan and the Lost Gold Mine|
Issue #64 (March 1987)
The movie starts when there is a fight between a thousand Bad Natives with white painted faces and an Ancient Englishster With a Monocle, who is a geologist in the jungle. He has found a Lost Gold Mine, which he claims by slaying the thousand natives, but this causes a restlessness so there is an uprising. Next there is a bloody raid on The Settlement by Lum Bago, who is the Leader of the Bad Natives and Terrorizer of the Pure Settlers. (They have come to the jungle to improve the Wasted Land and bring Goodness to the Black Heathen Horde, but the natives aren't too smart and resist learning that working for The Plantain Plantation is a good thing and will improve their lives. That makes it necessary for the Good Settlers to start exterminating this Bad Backward Native Element in their midst.) But what really counts is that the Ancient Geologist [quoteright]gets killed by Lum Bago's Bad Natives because they are still carrying a grudge over that other dead thousand. They burn all his important papers and stuff, so the Gold Mine gets relost.
However, the Important Papers having survived the fire, next there is a scene in an English library (you know it is English because it is all wood with old books, dark and lit by only one candle). This Englishster named Treyte CleShay is trying to embrace Lady Blanche Ashe-White Peur-Phannie while they talk about a search for the Lost Gold Mine, not just because she is a Pretty Blonde Englishstress, but probably because all the way through the movie she has a lot of trouble with her top buttons. You can tell that Treyte CleShay, who is a family friend, isn't a family friend, not just because he is always trying to embrace Lady Blanche, but also because he has a thin black moustache, oil-slicked wavy hair, and wears riding boots with a white scarf. Meanwhile, there is this black servant who does a lot of lurking (he is Oxford-educated you find out later when he talks better than Tarzan) and that you see is Lum Bago listening in and saying "Bwana" all the time, but only in disguise as a servant, and who has misused his education by leading the Bad Black Native Elements. (It is also very important to find out that Lady Blanche is the Grand Daughter of the Lost Ancient Geologist, and she knows that the Vital Secret needed to discover the Mine is to find Grandma, but there is something fishy about this.)
Then you get to see Tarzan in the jungle (he is really Lord Graced Oak) but who didn't do too well in school because he doesn't know very many words, and who swims a lot, so must have got through on an athletic scholarship. He wrestles unfriendly organisms in the Muddy River, like crocodiles, snakes, sharks and other fish (except the water gets clear with a sandy bottom when he does this...so that he can see, I guess... and I learned from this movie that sharks live in rivers thousands of miles from the ocean). He can also talk with lots of these different denizens of the jungle, like when later there is a Lion attack and a Tagger attack, and Tarzan wrestles the Tagger into a Full Nelson, and says some jungle talk into the Tagger's ear and then lets him go. The Tagger staggers to the edge of the clearing and looks back mean-like at Tarzan before he goes off defeated into the jungle.
He and Jane live in a tree house (where none of the unfriendly organisms except snakes and Godzilla the Hun Ape can get to him). All she wears is two shammy skins that cover her Important Places, and the top is glued fast to her since Nothing Important comes out even when she falls out of the tree house into the Muddy River and later gets thrown off Sharp Rock Cliff. She never learned to swing on vines, so she's kind of worthless and not much help to Tarzan in an emergency...he even has to carry his knife in his teeth at times because of carrying her.
Meanwhile, back in England when it gets Midnight, CleShay and Lady Blanche drive secretly to a Darkened Airfield even if there is a terrible storm. There is a night view when they take off in a Ford Airplane with Tri-Motors, and some views of a model airplane with painted windows which bounces around on a string. Lights flash like it is flying through lightning, and slanted lines so you know it's raining.
When they crash in the jungle from the storm, Treyte gets his face scratched and cut up in the trees, and so then there is this low camera view of Lady Blanche from behind to show her legs when she tears off her dress to make him a bandage. But the next day there aren't any cuts and his hair is all slicked into place even though he lost all his things, including his comb, in the crash, so she has to wear this split and torn petticoat, and go barefoot all the way through the movie, on account of she couldn't run if it wasn't torn clear up to her bottom.
They have got a dugout canoe with native paddlers, so they're making time down the river, when suddenly you hear "...P-tock!...Pfthnk-tok! ...Thh-tunk!" and see one of the paddlers fall over into the water, and then another one, and then another! It is some of Lum Bago's Bad Natives with blowguns along the shore who have started shooting arrows into the Good Native paddlers! Treyte and Lady Blanche get down in the bottom of the canoe and lay flat, but the Good Natives aren't too smart and don't know to do this, and they all get killed.
The canoe floats down the river toward The Great Falls while Treyte tries to embrace Lady Blanche again because of her top buttons missing, but the roar of the Great Falls intervenes just in time to spare her honor. Tarzan and one of the Good Apes rig vines across the river so Tarzan can swing out and catch Lady Blanche out of the canoe before it plunges over. They show a toy canoe going over a falls, but the cliff boulders look like plain crick rocks, and all these dead body dummies fall out of the canoe as it smashes to smithereens, and then Treyte CleShay crawls up onto a rock to survive himself.
Lady Blanche tells Tarzan and Jane she is there to find Grandma, and Jane isn't jealous of three top buttons of Lady Blanche's wet blouse missing because Tarzan doesn't even notice. Tarzan sends Cheetah to the Good Apes, who come to talk with Tarzan. They are real smart, and are able to tell him the intricate path to the Lost Gold Mine, and even to draw a map in the dirt with a twig. Meanwhile, Godzilla the Hun Ape has been leering at Lady Blanche from the jungle and wants her for his Queen Ape, and Lum Bago is also watching from the jungle. (Lady Blanche is in constant threat of being embraced and mated by both Treyte and Godzilla the Hun Ape, and when she is afraid from being Threatened in This Manner is when you get to see her Fair Breasts heave palpably because of the three missing top buttons, which heave a lot in this movie owing to this Constant Threat.)
That night there are drums, and in the firelight you see Tarzan raise his head, while in the jungle Lum Bago smiles Knowingly. Godzilla the Hun Ape tries a lot to steal Lady Blanche at night, but Tarzan wrestles him in the dark. I guess Tarzan never gets a chance to say any jungle talk in his ear because he keeps on coming back and being a Constant Threat nuisance.
The next morning, Tarzan and the two women and the Good Apes hurry to leave because of the danger. Godzilla the Hun Ape comes and reads the map in the dirt (which was right by the fire, but that nobody stepped on all night and which they forgot to erase), and then Lum Bago comes and reads the map, and finally Treyte CleShay (all wet, but with his hair combed) reads the map. They start following along the trail, but not together.
They get slowed down a lot because spoor is being constantly read by Tarzan, which doesn't seem to have all that much to do with the movie, but mostly shows that he is an expert spoor reader. He can read lion spoor, and tiger spoor, and ape spoor, and just all kinds of spoor. Once Tarzan squats on the trail to read some spoor; then Lum Bago comes along and he also reads the spoor; then Treyte (who doesn't know spoor) comes along, but since it is elephant spoor, he trips over it. After that, he limps with a sprained ankle and uses a Long Staff as a crutch, but he is able to catch up and some Good Natives carry him, otherwise he will slow them down in addition to Tarzan's spoor reading.
The mine is mostly lost because it is so difficult to get too...like impassable rivers they cross, crocodiles...and finally dangerous cliffy trails that a few of the more clumsy Good Natives fall off from and get squashed below (though the ones carrying Treyte don't have any problem).
They escape from Lum Bago when Tarzan calls the jungle denizenry by hitting his chest amd yelling "Ou-la-la!", and the Wild Elephant Herd gathers at the edge of the Sheer Cliff by the vine suspension bridge. Actually, there are only three in the herd, and they look like refugees from Hannibal's Crossing (which is maybe why they understood when he yelled in French), but there are some good scenes as they hold off Lum Bago by flat trampling the guts out of some Bad Natives until Tarzan et. al. are across and he can cut the vines. This also ends the Constant Threat of Godzilla the Hun Ape to Lady Blanche whose missing buttons no longer cause her trouble except for Treyte. (Being a Lady, she has kept her white blouse clean all the way through the movie, even after she escaped the Crocodiles in the Impossible Impassible River...or maybe it gets washed a lot because it's always clinging wet and never dries out from her getting trapped under hidden falls, river dunkings, and rain.)
They see a volcano and start up to it, but the natives get Sore Afraid and run around yelling, "Holy Smoke!" for this is a Sacred Volcano they call Gran Mamarri. That is when Lady Blanche gets all excited and calls it Grandma for short, and right then is when we get to know her Secret Knowledge! The mountain rumbles and all the natives run away, except Tarzan has never had any fear of confronting Gran Mamarris and doesn't know any better. The Good Natives start playing drums to protect themselves, and since they won't come any farther, Tarzan and the rest have to go on alone. They have a hard time seeing the path cut into the raw flat rock face of the mountain, even though it is wide enough for an ox cart, and there aren't any leaves or vines growing on it after all these years of nonuse. They stumble on to it when luckily Jane falls again, this time all the way down the side of the mountain and out onto the road.
They have to go through a cave, and when they go in this ominous music starts playing. Everything is eerie because you still hear the drums, only louder. They approach an altercation on which an Idle is sitting. (They call them idles because they don't move; only sit and glitter and look expansive.) But this Idle was moving on account of some Holy Snakes which were twisting around it and hissing, and causing a Threat. They have to get past (the Threat causes Lady Blanche's breasts to heave palpably again), but Tarzan confronts them (the snakes), and there is some jungle talk, after which they slowly recoil back (the snakes) but keep sticking their tongues out at him because they still don't like him.
When they come out on Grandma's back side, there is Loud Dramatic Music and Sudden Bright Sunshine, for there before their eyes is The Lost Mine which they have found that is therefore now no longer lost. When everybody gets back to normal again, Lady Blanche says she is going to use it to set up a hospital and school for the Good Natives, which Treyte does not think is normal, and makes him so angry that Lady Blanche suddenly sees he never cared about either her or her Honor and jilts him on the very spot!
Now that they have found the mine, and since he knows he is to be disgracefully jilted, Treyte lays a plan to double-cross Lady Blanche and keep the mine himself. But before Treyte can put his Nefarious Scheme into effect, they get captured by the Tribe of Desperate Destitute Deprived Ugly Lady Amazons. They are all very old and have no Progeny so they will die out. So their leader, Boobus Giganticus, ties Treyte up and makes him volunteer to accompany them captive into the jungle to set him up as their sex idle to help with their Progeny Program. They force him to live happily ever after with them whether he wants to or not until the next cereal adventure. They let the others go, but they hold him captive on the other side of the mountain where he can't be saved, so Lady Blanche says that maybe he will finally be some good to somebody in life which he never was much of before. He doesn't look well nor very happy, as Tarzan with Lady Blanche and Jane start off into the sunset along the trail to the ocean, but Boobus grips his arm until he smiles pleasantly and waves, so I guess it will all turn out OK.
© 1987 B. Schmitz
Burt Schmitz has drawn a number of covers for The Ecphorizer as well as providing interior art. He recently worked on a large illustrated tourist map for a Silicon Valley promotion firm.