Shame of the Jungle (1975)

SHAME OF THE JUNGLE (1975)
aka Tarzoon, la honte de la jungle
Article 4661 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-22-2014
Directed by Picha and Boris Szulzinger
Featuring the voices of Johnny Weissmuller Jr., Christopher Guest, Bill Murray
Country: France / Belgium
What it is: Bawdy animated parody of Tarzan

An evil woman plans to take over the world; however, she’s self-conscious about being bald and seeks the hair of a jungle woman named June. June, however, is the the girlfriend of Shame of the Jungle, who sets out to rescue her.

This movie is rather like a cross between a Tarzan movie, a Ralph Bakshi cartoon, and FLESH GORDON. The movie is full of sex, nudity, gross-out gags and indescribable non sequiturs, such as the whole sequence with the beer-guzzling man who is flown around on a carpet by a group of enslaved birds. It’s not really sexy (the bawdy humor is just too weird to elicit that sort of reaction), nor is it particularly funny (it’s trying so hard to be outrageous that it forgets to try for laughs). Way too much of the movie involves the evil woman’s palace guard (or “phallus guard”, as the case may be) which consists of a tribe of mobile penises; I wouldn’t be surprised if fully half of this movie consisted of footage of these guys, and any humor they generate gets old quickly. Perhaps the main reason the movie still held my interest is that I’m a fan of animation. Perhaps the most interesting things about the movie for me were the presence of Johnny Weissmuller Jr. as the voice of Shame, the presence of some Saturday Night Live Alumni in various roles (including John Belushi), and a cameo appearance by Tintin which was probably a lot more amusing to French/Belgian audiences than to American ones. The user reviews on IMDB seem to indicate that the movie is mostly well-remembered by those who saw it when they were fourteen years old, and I can see that. As it is, I find it mostly a curiosity.

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