Tarzanova smrt (1962)

aka The Death of the Ape Man
Article 2947 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-2-2009
Posting Date: 9-8-2009
Directed by Jaroslav Balik
Featuring Rudolf Hrusinsky, Jana Stepankova, Martin Ruzek
Country: Czechoslovakia

A noble, lost in the jungle as a kid and raised by apes, returns to civilization and must adjust. He finds himself torn between two factions of people who want to use him for their own ends.

Because my copy of this movie is in unsubtitled Czech, the above plot description may not be completely accurate, though given the references to Tarzan, I think my assumption about the man having been raised by apes is correct, even if we have no scenes of him in the jungle. The language barrier did make the movie more difficult to appreciate, but the spirit of the whole affair does seem to come through. IMDB classifies it as a comedy, and indeed it is, but the comedy is tempered with a dark, tragic edge. Visually, it’s quite good at times, with a scene in which two groups of people, both plotting to get our hero to marry a specific woman, have a free-for-all in the foyer of a mansion while decked out in formal attire. This scene is particularly fascinating; visually, it’s the funniest scene in the movie, but it’s also the one where we see the dark threads of the tale coming together as our hero ends up learning about guns and what they can do, and though much of the fighting is comic, the deaths are real. It’s an intriguing movie, and I find myself really hoping that someone takes the time to add English subtitles at some time so I can appreciate it better. And I find it rather fitting that a movie this comic and tragic would open and close with a singing clown.


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