There are some movies that are unjustly maligned by the general public but that are appreciated by those of us who have a taste for things that are different. Many b-movies and cult movies fall into this category as people who do not have an appreciation for the world of the fantastic many not see these flicks with the same eye as someone who loves Ray Harryhausen and includes Robert Forster in a list of favorite actors. Many of the movies reviewed on this site can fall into that category so obviously we can find many things to like about movies that may have budgetary challenges or other so-called defects. I believe this is partially due to the fact that as fans of these types of flicks, we are able to use our imaginations to fill in the blanks and we appreciate seeing things onscreen that we do not see everyday. Then there are movies that really are terrible and no amount of imagination or patience can compensate for that fact. This is one of those movies.
Bo Derek stars as Jane, a young woman who travels to the jungle in search of her father (Richard Harris). Soon after their initial meeting, Jane agrees to join her father's next expedition where he repeatedly expresses his desire to capture the mythical Tarzan (Miles O'Keeffe) and have him mounted on his wall. Tarzan clearly has a different kind of mounting in mind as he stalks Jane and eventually reveals himself when she decides to go skinny dipping in the ocean and is confronted by a lion on the beach in one of the film's many "WTF" moments. After a few exchanges establishing that these two want to hump, Jane's father and his assistant (John Phillip Law) come running down the beach to rescue her. As the expedition continues, Tarzan kidnaps Jane and they play in the forest. As the film reaches its climax, Jane is kidnapped again but this time it is by a tribe led by a lecherous dude who has her stripped naked, washed down, and painted white. Only one man can come to her rescue and he does so with a herd of elephants so that he can take her back to his spot by the river and watch as his orangutan pal plays with a topless Jane in a way that makes the viewer feel slightly uncomfortable while the end credits roll.
There is no denying that Bo Derek was a beautiful woman back in the day and it is widely know that she had one of the desrable bodies of that era (she did star in 10 after all). If you are a fan of Derek, there is no shortage of skin in this flick and the scene where she is washed "like a horse" and painted while whining incessantly to her father is kind of a classic. The amount that Bo's body is on display (both clothed and unclothed) is quite impressive given the fact that her husband was the director. Either they both knew exactly what audiences wanted and this was a cunning move to exploit male desire or John Derek just liked to show off what a hot wife he had. Unfortunately, movies need more than a sexy girl to be entertaining and the movie severely lacks a plot, characters, or a point. The action sequences are painfully shot in slow motion making them completely unexciting and way too long. One of the scenes involving Tarzan and a snake reminded e of Bela Lugosi and the octopus in Bride of the Monster. John Phillip Law (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad) has nothing to do and looks embarrassed. Richard Harris (A Man Called Horse) seems like he is drunk and seems to never stop yelling. I have no idea how they convinced him to be in this flick. Miles O'Keeffe (Ator, The Fighting Eagle) does not speak and only serves as eye candy for the women in the audience.
Bo Derek was a phenomenon back in the late 70's/early 80's and this is the movie that she is probably most known for. I have no idea why they decided to make a Tarzan movie when the point was just to show Bo in as little clothing as possible. I'm sure they could have come up with many other scenarios but it seems odd to have her star in a Tarzan movie and make Tarzan a supporting character. This flick is all about Jane and her boobs and Tarzan is just there for the ride. The fact that the movie is poorly executed makes it a big bore that is too long and has nothing memorable other than the nudity, Bo's musings about virginity, and monkeys trying to cop a feel. Bo was not a great actress and this does not help the cause. Maybe its fun if you get together with a bunch of friends and take a shot of tequila every time you see one of Bo Derek's nipples. Maybe that's what Richard Harris did... (Josh Pasnak, 6/22/2020)
Directed By: John Derek.
Written By: Tom Rowe.
Starring: Bo Derek, Richard Harris, John Phillip Law, Miles O'Keeffe.