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  Jungle Burger The Grate White Ape
Year: 1975
Director: Picha, Boris Szulzinger
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller Jr, Bob Perry, Christopher Guest, Brian Doyle-Murray, Pat Bright, Emily Prager, Bill Murray, Guy Sorel, Deya Kent, Judy Graubart, Adolph Caesar, John Baddeley, John Belushi
Genre: Comedy, Sex, AnimatedBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the area of the African continent known as the Bush, the powerful villainess Queen Bazonga (voiced by Pat Bright) schemes to improve her looks. She is afflicted with a completely bald head, and demands that her dicephalous henchman do something about it - she wants flowing locks no matter what the cost. They decide that a hair transplant is the best thing for this, but who will be the unwilling donor? After scanning through a selection of photographs of possible candidates, Bazonga settles on June (Emily Prager) the permanently fed up partner of Shame (Johnny Weissmuller Jr)...

And who is Shame, you may well ask? Only the King of the Jungle and Lord of the Apes himself! Wait a sec, you might be wondering what happened to Tarzan if that were the case, and you'd have a point, for this was a sex-crazed spoof of the Edgar Rice Burroughs character in all but name, mainly due to the estate which held the rights not being massively impressed with this smutty take down of their beloved hero. Even with the son of the most famous screen Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, on vocal duties, there was nothing remotely respectful about his treatment at the hands of this lot.

Actually, the original version was not American at all, but a co-production between France and Belgium (the latter explaining why Tintin appears for one gag, making fun of the boy reporter's infamous Congo adventure). The directors were Boris Szulzinger, and the better known Frenchman Picha, whose irreverent way with this material gave him a career out of sexualised humour and spoofing of famous characters and celebrated genres. In French it was called Tarzoon, la honte de la jungle, which on some English language prints was translated as Shame of the Jungle, the "Tarzoon" bit presumably deemed too near the source of parody.

To add a certain cachet for comedy fans, the American dub was handled by two of Saturday Night Live's writers, Anne Beatts and Mr Mike himself, Michael O'Donoghue, although in truth even if they had written the most sparkling dialogue ever, it was never going to compete with the parade of penises that littered the screen. As it was, they did their best to match the bawdiness of the Europeans, but it was far from their best work, even if they did manage to hire a few of their SNL talent to voice some of the characters; Bill Murray is in there, and most recognisably John Belushi contributed a stream of consciousness monologue, even getting in a reference to The Silver Chalice to explain the cartoon character's actions.

As to the plot, well, it wasn't that important, as it was basically a series of sketches with a jungle theme as Shame tries to rescue June after she is kidnapped by Bazonga's five foot tall penises (thought not before they pleasure her first to make her more amenable about going along). Along the way, our hero proves himself a lunkhead who cannot keep his loincloth from falling down most of the time, although no one in this is exactly operating at genius level. There is a party of white explorers who are picked off one by one, a tribe of pygmy cannibals who eat everything in sight, and a few other stereotyped natives, but it's the Queen's army of phalluses you'll recall as they spit explosive ejaculations and generally cause trouble for Shame. There's not much more to this than the blue gags, and you'll likely tire of it before it's over thanks to how repetitive it becomes very quickly - even with the invention on display, it's essentially the same few jokes over and over.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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