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Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966)



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Producer Sy Weintraub concluded his mass revamping of the Tarzan series (started with Tarzan's Greatest Adventure) with this film, Tarzan and the Valley of Gold. He cast Mike Henry as the Ape Man, and, to keep the character more up to date with the times, mixed in some trendy James Bond-like elements into the story.

The result was a noble effort but not an altogether successful one. Tarzan and James Bond make an odd and incompatible mix, and Mike Henry was more suited to play the latter than the former -- he's simply too suave, sophisticated, and clean-cut to be a plausible Tarzan. The first third of the film takes place in (relative) civilization, where an awkward, out-of-place espionage plot takes place. The rest of it, which appropriately takes place in the jungle, is less interesting than it should be, and the much used "hidden civilization" plotline isn't handled innovatively enough to justify its use.

But in spite of its crucial flaws, it's not irredeemably bad. A significant cut above the duds in the series, this entry has its share of entertainment value for Tarzan fans.

A trivia note: by the time Tarzan and the Valley of Gold made it to the theaters, Mike Henry had already shot all three of his Tarzan epics. He eventually sued the producers for overworking him, which is probably one of the bigger reasons he never did any more.

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