Tarzan, The Ape Man 1959

In 1959, a version of “Tarzan, the Ape Man” was released by MGM, starring Denny Miller as the iconic creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Joanna Barnes played Jane Parker while Robert Douglas is cast as her father. Joseph M. Newman directed this rather forgettable remake of the 1932 version which had starred Johnny Weissmuller.

This film reuses a lot of effects and shots from the previous version and other movies such as “King Solomon’s Mines”.  Apparently the distinctive Tarzan yell was also reused from the earlier version.  Not all of the visuals were terrible, but there were some inconsistencies in the setting.

I did find the narration provided by Robert Douglas to be rather distracting. There wasn’t anything particularly awful about the performances, but nothing much stood out.

Also, Tarzan’s back story was never explained as it was in the original novel.  Tarzan was taken in by a group of apes after his aristocratic parents were marooned in the jungle and later died.  In the novel, Tarzan was able to teach himself to read and speak before meeting Jane.  Miller’s version is not quite as verbose as the literary depiction conceived by Burroughs.

I would not say that this movie is completely terrible, but there are better adaptations out there.  This version should likely be viewed with the expectation of not remembering much about it for very long afterward.

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