While on a safari a journalist, Tekin, and his guide, Kundo, find a skeleton in the African jungle. A letter with it is addressed to Camil Karazintzir in Istanbul. Tekin decides to deliver the letter. The letter is from Camil’s brother who had disappeared in the jungle with his wife and young son. The letter also talks about a treasure in a place called Death Mountain. Camil decides to make an expedition to find the treasure. He hires Tekin as his assistant and offers to give him a portion of the treasure. They hire a plane from Tevfik and his partner Netzla. They also take another pilot, Aziz Basmaci, and fly to Tanganyika where they then hire Kundo as a guide to take them to Death Mountain.
They cross a crocodile infested river on a dinky little raft. Before they reach the other side they are attacked by a tribe called The Gabone. A huge fight ensues and the safari is about to be overwhelmed when there is a sound that frightens the Gabone away. A yell of some kind. The expedition finally reaches Death Mountain where they find a cave. In the cave they find the treasure. The party decides to rest a day before heading back.
That night a lion tries to kill Netzla. Tarzan saves her. The next day Netzla and Aziz go swimming. Netzla is attacked by a crocodile. Tarzan saves her again then he grabs Netzla and runs into the jungle. She convinces him to take her back to her friends where she introduces him to the rest of the party. The knife Tarzan carries is the one his father gave him before he died. The knife is engraved with the Karazintzir name. The expedition party realizes that Tarzan is the rightful owner of the treasure. This does not please some of the members. Tekin believes Tarzan’s life is in danger from members of the safari and the Gabone are still out there threatening everyone.
“Tarzan in Istanbul” AKA “Tarzan Istanbul’da” was released in 1952 and was directed by Orhan Atadeniz. It is a Turkish jungle adventure film and is based on the Tarzan character by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It stars Tamer Balci, Hayri Esen and Necla Aygül. It is the brain child of Turkish movie distributor Sabahatdin Tulgar.
The movie was filmed in Istanbul; however, there are no jungles there. The closest thing to a jungle is Belgrade Forest near Istanbul. Basically all of the jungle footage came from other jungle movies and wildlife documentaries. The film itself is at least half stock footage from American jungle movies. The movie plot is also similar to the Tarzan meets Jane story used in “Tarzan the Ape Man” 1932, including Weissmuller’s Tarzan yell, an Indian elephant named Timba, and a chimpanzee, Chitah, for a friend. Even the use of the word “Umgowa” is prevalent. The filmmakers also duplicated some of the scenes from the 1932 MGM hit.
The title of the movie is a misnomer. Tarzan only gets to Istanbul in the last couple minutes of the film. Almost everything else is Africa. Surprisingly the movie did quite well in Istanbul as well as other countries. As far as Tarzans go Tamer Balci is a little stiff but then he wasn’t really an actor at the time. Balci was a Turkish Olympic athlete and champion in the “Hammer Throw” and supposedly a soccer player. What the movie also has a lot of is lame and extremely annoying humor by comic relief Aziz Basmaci.
Believe it or not the movie is campy and cheap but not too much different than your average poverty row jungle film. It’s nowhere good but it does have the essence of your low budget “B” jungle movie.