TFTMM 2019 & WOIANRA 2018 on… Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959)

And now we’re here for the 1959 adventure movie Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure, starring Gordon Scott!

Under cover of darkness, four men raided an African village, stealing some dynamite and killing two people in the process. Led by Slade (Anthony Quayle), they took their boat up the river, barely escaping Tarzan’s (Gordon Scott) notice. When he heard about the raid, Tarzan went off in his canoe after them. He was slowed down when he had to rescue Angie (Sara Shane) after her plane crashed. With Tarzan slowly following the men, Slade and his crew continue to make their way towards a hidden diamond mine, with everybody slowly turning on each other for different reasons. As Tarzan catches up, he finds himself hunting down fewer men, but has to rely on Angie for help when he is injured by dynamite.

For years, my only experience with the classic Tarzan movies was some of the Johnny Weissmuller films. So, comparatively, this is a different beast. As you could see from my plot description, there’s no Jane in this movie, and while there’s a hint of romance between Tarzan and Angie, they don’t end up together at the film’s end. Tarzan’s chimpanzee buddy Cheeta is also barely there, mostly showing up at the beginning and then not being around for the remainder of the movie. As well known as Tarzan is for swinging on vines and that famous Tarzan yell, he doesn’t do either until near the end of the movie, spending a good deal of the movie in a canoe and on foot.

In spite of so much being different from the Tarzan movies I am used to, this turned out to be a wonderful surprise! It was fun seeing Sean Connery in one of his early film roles (and he was asked to be in more Tarzan movies, but he had to decline because he had been given a certain role in a little movie called Dr. No). The movie looked fantastic in high definition (although it does make Tarzan’s fight with the crocodile look a little more obviously fake, but that can’t be helped). The scenery just looks so fantastic, and it works, since it was filmed on location in Africa. Depending on how you want to look at it, the beginning might bother some, when the villains raid the village, all clad in blackface. Of course, as I say, it is the film’s VILLIANS who do this, so it’s not exactly portrayed as a positive thing here. I certainly enjoyed this movie, and would easily recommend trying it out, as it certainly comes close to living up to its title!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection, and is one hour, twenty-seven minutes in length.

My Rating: 9/10

Audience Rating:

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