(a.k.a. TARZAN IN ISTANBUL)
Mr Tekin is a journalist enjoying a 2-month holiday in Africa. Whilst on safari with his guide Kunt (!) they stumble across the skeleton of a fellow explorer.
A journal that Tekin finds near the corpse reveals how a family on vacation were besieged by a local tribe. In flashback we see how the father was impaled by a spear and urged his young son to flee into the jungle rather than die with his injured parents.
Upon his return from Africa Tekin visits Camil in his office and delivers the aforementioned envelope. Camil reveals that the corpse was his brother, and in his letter he says he has found treasure in Africa and hidden it at Death Mountain. Lo, there's even a map enclosed.
Camil tells Tekin he will only venture to Africa if he will accompany him - and advises that if he does, there will be a cut of the treasure put aside for him. Naturally, Tekin agrees to tag along.
Enlisting the help of a couple of pilots - including demure Netzla, who takes a shine to Tekin - the group set off for Africa, where they are greeted upon their arrival by Kunt and his team of black assistants.
Kunt and co agree to guide the entourage through the jungle and to Death Mountain, but secretly begin to conspire among themselves when they hear about the treasure.
And so, a lengthy expedition into the jungle commences, with plenty of stock wildlife footage - giraffes, hippos, lions - to lap up until eventually we get to meet Tarzan (Tamer Balci), riding his trusty elephant friend Timba.
Tarzan's alerted by his chimpanzee friend Chitah that there is a group of people nearing his part of the jungle, so he swings to find a tree from where he can spy on Tekin's group. He watches idly as the group are almost devoured by a crocodile while crossing a river on a raft. It's only when the local tribe surround and attack the group that Tarzan steps in, scaring the locals off with his trademark holler.
With the group now aware of Tarzan's existence, his initial suspicion of them and a plot concerning hidden treasure and double-crossings, TARZAN ISTANBULDA finally gets moving ...
The film isn't slow as such - on the contrary, it's very quick to establish characters and key plot points. But it does take what feels like an age to introduce Tarzan to the story (31 minutes to be precise), while in the meantime languishing too often on stock footage of animals running freely in the jungle, or vultures feasting on a zebra's corpse.
Performances are enjoyably over the top and at times downright inept, while the direction and monochrome photography are strictly pedestrian affairs. Even the music - presumably lifted at the time from some other production - reeks of ill-fitting melodrama. In other words, TARZAN slots neatly into the "so bad it's good" category. Or at least it would where it not that it takes so long for any action to occur, and the fact that at 91 minutes it feels a good 30 minutes too long. The joke wears thin, and the racism afforded to the black members of the cast (nothing that's scripted, just a general "us and them" mentality) is quietly unsettling.
Onar films deliver another solid disc here of a film many thought would never surface on DVD.
In terms of picture, the original full-frame ratio transfer is speckled and a little soft - hardly surprising for a 55-year-old obscurity. What is surprising is that the film looks as watchable as it does, with bright imagery, good black/white contrasts and a minimum of grain.
The Turkish mono audio track is fine throughout, perfectly audible with minimal background hiss. Optional subtitles are available in English and Greek.
Stirring animated menus include an attractive scene-selection menu allowing access to the film via 9 chapters.
The best of the extras is a new onscreen interview with co-star Kunt Tulgar, who looks amazing for his age. He speaks in a relaxed manner with film historian Metin Demirhan, who clearly idolises his subject. It's an intimate shot-on-video affair that lasts a substantial 32 minutes, covering Tulgar's career in detail. Optional English and Greek subtitles are also available for this featurette.
Elsewhere we get an enjoyable gallery of posters and lobby cards, offering 18 stills.
A Tulgar biography provides unintentional humour with the great opening line "From the moment Kunt opened his eyes ..." - it proves to be an interesting read in English text, offering 10 pages of information including a filmography.
A biography on director Orhan Atadeniz follows, but offers less with only 5 pages of text.
A lost "check" sequence is essentially a 30-second outtake with no sound and very soft visuals - here for completists, I suppose.
Finally we have trailers for ZORRO KAMCILI SUVARI, CASUS KIRAN, ASKA SUSAVANLAR SEKS VE CINAVET, KIZILTUG CENGIZ HAN and KARANLIK SULAR.
It's worth noting also that this disc is a limited edition of only 1200 copies, and each one is individually numbered on the back cover.
Another good disc of a genuine oddity from the hard-working crew at Onar.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Onar Films|
|Region All - NTSC|
|see main review|