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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tarzan The Ape Man (1959)

Guided by a Watusi (Thomas Yanha) on a hazardous trek through uncharted lands, three people search for an ancient elephant graveyard which yields a fortune in ivory. They include an adventurer (Cesare Danova), his partner (Robert Douglas) and his partner's daughter (Joanna Barnes). The daughter becomes separated from the other two and is saved by a mysterious jungle man (Denny Miller). Directed by Joseph M. Newman (THIS ISLAND EARTH), this is a very low budget and loose remake of the original 1932 MGM Tarzan film with Johnny Weissmuller. It's an odd little film and more enjoyable than it has any right to be considering what a patch job it is. It's an MGM backlot Africa with copious amounts of previously used footage from KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1950) and the early MGM Tarzan movies inserted in. The inserted footage doesn't match the new footage and the optical effects are really bad. A scene of Miller and Barnes swimming underwater is clearly the actors shot in a tank and inserted over previously shot underwater footage. Then there's the swinging jazz score by Shorty Rogers which feels out of place. Miller makes for a likable and rather sweet Tarzan (though that name is never used in the film) if you can get over him looking like he wandered in from a beach party movie.  

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