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It's a Jungle Out There, Let's Not Forget Who's the King of It

04/07/2016 17:28 | Updated 04 July 2016

The cinematic release of The Legend of Tarzan is here and I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to be more than a little disappointed. Not least, the blue-rinsed Tory matriarchs.

The poor things. As if they haven't had a rough enough time of it lately, especially in light of their current golden boy ruling himself out of the running for the leadership, it seems that this new film has in fact got nothing to do with their former pin up.

Far from being a long awaited and some would say overdue biopic of the mane man, who at party conference after party conference in the 1980s and 1990s made their hearts flutter like an Aortic Aneurysm, preview clips and reviews would suggest no mention is made of him anywhere.

Much to their Conservative chagrin, there isn't a passing reference to a single one of Michael Heseltine's many accomplishments (highlights to use an inevitable hairdressing term). Even his occasional failures (lowlights to use another one) aren't touched upon. His pivotal role in the urban regeneration of Liverpool is totally ignored as is his ill-advised cabinet resignation over the Westland affair.

Maybe one day, there'll be a plethora of movies, including Tarzan and the Europhiles, Tarzan and the Fall of the Iron Lady and Tarzan and Economic Growth with Specific Reference to Localism. (Rumour has it that Ridley Scott is already interested in directing the latter).

Until then, we'll have to make do with this; the latest offering from David Yates, who found acclaim with the last four films in the Harold Wilson franchise. Oh, alright, it was the Harry Potter series. Although Emma Watson would undoubtably have made a decent stab at being cast as Marcia Falkender, the Labour PM's private secretary.

It could be argued that after 50 plus outings in the cinema and on TV, going back almost a century - the very first time he swung from vine to vine was in 1918 - the last thing we need is one more strapping, virile, ridiculously handsome actor (in this instance, Alexander Skarsgard) in a state of near complete undress; all muscles and sweaty sinew, yodelling and beating his trained-to-perfection chest in an overtly masculine homoerotic fashion. But then again, as the recent referendum showed, there's fortunately two sides to every argument.

Over the years, Tarzan has, of course, come up against many foes from ruthless hunters and slave traders to Bolsheviks and Nazis. And in case we forget, the She-Devil in 1953, which sadly didn't feature Thatcher, a whole 26 years before she came to power. In short, there's hardly been an enemy Tarzan hasn't fought or a part of the world, civilised or uncivilised, where he hasn't triumphed over them.

Surely then it's time for him to finally hang up his loin cloth. If there was to be a further instalment, perhaps it should have been set in an old people's residence in Lytham St Annes and titled Tarzan and the Care Home. At least it would have reflected the problems facing an ageing society. Imagine that famous call - less loud now and a tad hacking thanks to a nagging chest infection - of Ahhhhhhh...ahh..ah..ah...ah...ahhhhhhhhh...when the enema was administered. Naturally, the plot would have involved the whole of the Greystoke ancestral estate being sold to pay for the exorbitant monthly costs living in such an establishment entails.

The truth of the matter is that compared to today's action heroes, Tarzan is a bit of an anachronism (rather like the Conservatives themselves); a throwback to Britain's colonial past and in a sense that's where he belongs. An early 20th century creation who we don't really want to see amidst a sea of 21st century CGI. Much better to remember him as he was, played by the only actor who truly embodied the role. Just like Bond will forever be associated with Sean Connery, Tarzan will forever be associated with Johnny Weissmuller. The model and Olympic swimmer imbued the part with his physicality and charisma for 14 years, starring in 12 films in total.

So, if this coming weekend you have an urge to watch a truly great Jungle movie, don't go to your Multiplex. Instead, stay at home and on whatever format you can find (it's available on import DVD), watch the 1932 version of Tarzan the Ape Man.

As a parting aside, I definitely reckon I know who Michael "Tarzan" Heseltine will be backing to be the new leader of the Tories. It's got to be Theresa May, hasn't it? If for no other reason than those infamous African inspired Leopard print kitten heels of hers.

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