Director Joseph M Newman
Producer Al Zimbalist
Associate Producer Donald Zimbalist
Screenplay Robert Hill

Tarzan Denny Miller
Jane Parker Joanna Barnes
Harry Holt Cesare Danova
James Parker Robert Douglas
Riano Thomas Yangha

• It is fascinating that a studio like MGM with a reputation for big budgets and attention to detail could produce two dreadful remakes of the classic 1932 Weissmuller film, Tarzan the Ape Man.  The 1959 version is generally considered the second worst in the whole series, only slightly better than Bo Derek's 1981 version.  MGM's interest in the ape-man had been rekindled by Sol Lesser's two productions released through them - Tarzan and the Lost Safari (1957) and Tarzan's Fight For Life (1958), their first involvement in Tarzan pictures since Tarzan's New York Adventure in 1942.  Also of interest to historians of the series is the fact that the producer on this film, Al Zimbalist, was the son of Sam Zimbalist, who had produced Tarzan Finds a Son! back in 1939.  Cast as Tarzan was 24-year-old UCLA basketball sensation Denny Miller who went on to become a regular in Wagon Train on TV.  This shoddily made quickie used abundant footage from King Solomon's Mines (1950), colourised footage from the original Weissmuller film as well as the crocodile fight from Tarzan and His Mate (1934).  Harry Holt has become an obnoxious Latino, played by Cesare Danova; black LA high school kids from Fairfax High School played the pygmies; and the highly inappropriate hip, brassy jazz score was provided by Shorty Rogers' Orchestra.  Overall, a laughable travesty.

• Click on the image at right to hear the ape cry used in this film

PLOT - Note: Spoiler warning
• James Parker's partner, Harry Holt, arrives on a riverboat with Parker's daughter, Jane, who has been in England for several years.  Holt has befriended a tall Watusi who gives Jane a good-luck charm carved, he says, from ivory from the elephants' burial ground.  All three are down on their luck so they decide to embark on a safari to search for the ivory.  On route Jane is saved from both a leopard attack and a rampaging elephant by Tarzan, an inarticulate wild man who lives in the jungle.  He takes her to his tree house and she soon finds that she is attracted to this gentle and primitive man (above).  Holt and Parker track down Jane and the three climb the Mutia Escarpment together to finish their quest.  The party are soon attacked by pygmies and Tarzan rescues Jane and Holt, but Jane's father is killed (left).  They escape on a wounded elephant that carries them to the elephants' burial ground where Jane has a change of heart about the wealth of ivory and decides to stay in the jungle with Tarzan.  She farewell's Holt and stays with Tarzan.

Click on the image below to view the trailer for this film:

Tarzan of the Movies by Gabe Essoe, 1968, The Citadel Press
Kings of the Jungle by David Fury, 1994, McFarland Classics
• The Spanish poster for this film was pilfered from an eBay auction item
• Both photos are screenshots taken from my DVD of this film
• The video clip of the trailer for this film was uploaded to Youtube by me specifically to embed in this web page
• Read a Denny Milller filmography at The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
• This film has never been released commercially but collectors sometimes offer it on DVD on eBay

TARZAN® is the property of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Tarzana CA.
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Tarzan material is copyright © 2002-2008 Paul Wickham
This page was updated May 2008