The Benton gang (John Carradine playing the father and Jock Mahoney, Al
Mulock, Gary Cockrell, Ron MacDonnell as his sons) rob a bank somewhere in
Africa, but during the getaway, Coy (Jock Mahoney), the eldest of the
boys, is caught by the authorities. When Coy's to be transported to prison
though, he makes an escape attempt and kills an officer, but is
re-captured by Tarzan, who now takes it into his own hands to bring Coy to
justice ... however, Coy's family is never far behind, and they blow up
the boat Coy was to travel on - which leaves Tarzan with no alternative
other than to take Coy through the jungle by foot. And before he knows it,
Tarzan is joined on his expedition by a handful of fellow travellers
(Betta St.John, Lionel Jeffries, Alexandra Stewart, Earl Cameron, Charles
'Bud' Tingwell) he would rather not want to be burdened with.
On the perilous journey, Coy tries every trick in the book to alert his
family to his current position (and usually succeeds) and tries to play
the members of the expedition against one another as well (and usually
succeeds here too). Especially pompous Ames (Lionel Jeffries) is easy to
tease and driven to mistakes, and at the same time Coy has no problems
charming Ames' wife Fay (Betta St.John).
Ultimately, Tarzan and company get into an ambush, which results in a
big shoot-out during which the only black member of the expedition and the
ablest man, gives his life to save Ames, who has all along the way treated
him like dirt.The shoot-out though has taken its toll on the Benton's as
well, as all of pa Benton's sons have either died or left ... but he is
still determined to free his son Coy. Eventually, though, it's Ames' wife
Fay who frees him and runs away with him. However, when she can't go on,
she has to learn that all of Coy's sweettalking was worth precious little
as he leaves her behind and she is eaten up by a lion.
Trying to track down Coy, Tarzan gets into another ambush by Coy and
dad Benton, but in the shoot-out that ensues, Coy accidently shoots his
own father. It all ends in a rough fistfight between Coy and Tarzan, and
of course Tarzan defeats Coy in the end and ultimately hands him over to
the authorities - and the jungle has become a safer place.
Greatest Adventure before it, Tarzan the Magnificent is
less of a larger-than-life adventure one has come to expect from the Tarzan
series but more of a thriller in jungle settings. And as a jungle
thriller, Tarzan the Magnificent is ok, and extensive location
shooting in Kenya does indeed pay off, but at the same time the film is
pretty much routine and nothing special, and it's definitely inferior to Tarzan's
Greatest Adventure. However, Tarzan the Magnificent isn't
too bad either ..
By the way, Jock Mahoney, who plays the baddie here, would soon be
promoted to playing Tarzan himself in Tarzan Goes to India and Tarzan's
Three Challenges before playing a recurring supporting role on the Ron
Ely-Tarzan television series.