Tarzan the Magnificent (1960)

Tarzan the Magnificent (1960)

“I can’t understand a man who would rather live in fear than fight it — no matter the cost!”

Tarzan (Gordon Scott) escorts cop-killer Coy Banton (Jock Mahoney) to the town of “Kairobi” in order to get reward money to give to the wife of the slain policeman (John Sullivan). He is accompanied in his dangerous overland trek by a group of individuals whose boat has been destroyed by Mahoney’s vengeful family, and are also eager to make it to Kairobi — including the boat’s shipmate (Earl Cameron); an arrogant businessman (Lionel Jeffries) and his wife (Betta St. John); a one-time doctor (Charles Tingwell); and a young woman (Alexandra Stewart). Along the way, the travelers must contend not only with wily Mahoney, but with his determined father Abel (John Carradine) as well as his three brothers — Ethan (Ron McDonnell), Johnny (Gary Cockrell), and Martin (Al Mulock) — who will stop at nothing to free Mahoney.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Africa
  • Cat-and-Mouse
  • John Carradine Films
  • Jungles
  • Road Trip
  • Tarzan Films

This follow-up to Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959) more closely resembles a western than a traditional Tarzan flick in its narrative style, given the presence of the murderous Banton clan, with Tarzan functioning essentially as a sheriff for a terrorized settlement which is unwilling (or unable) to provide sufficient support. Mahoney is highly effective as psychopathic Coy Banton; it’s interesting to know that he took over playing Tarzan in the very next film of the series (!). Overall, this remains an exciting and well-filmed flick, with many adventures (and gruesome deaths) along the way. Also of note is the refreshing humanization of local black Africans:

— though it’s distressing that a village chief was played in blackface by a white man (why??).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Jock Mahoney as Coy Banton
  • Numerous exciting sequences

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended.


One thought on “Tarzan the Magnificent (1960)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see… but Tarzan fans may possibly get something out of it.

    Though the plot is thin, it does allow for a fair amount of action complication – even if none of that is all that surprising. This movie goes just about where you (early on) think it will go. But Scott has genuine charisma as Tarzan… and he speaks in complete sentences!

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