Saturday, February 26, 2005

Tarzan of the Apes.

Seeing Tarzan goes to India on Channel 5 today, I was reminded of the astonishing lengths to which the studios went to keep black faces off the screen. The movie scripts always showed Tarzan as a white man who, even dissociated from colonial resources, was still the only one who could tame Africa, or defend it. Africans, when they appear, are portrayed as child-like; to be befriended or punished as they deserved.
It occurred to me that all the films should really be remade (the original text notwithstanding) with a black actor in the lead role.
Jane can still be white, if you like.
Then again, a portrayal of a black man, straight out of the jungle, raised by a family of apes, who goes about with his shirt off, carrying a knife and shacking up with white women might attract unlooked-for criticism.

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