Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959)

Article 4921 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-7-2015
Directed by John Guillermin
Featuring Gordon Scott, Anthony Quayle, Sara Shane
Country: USA
What it is: Tarzan movie

A group of criminals have been raiding villages in Africa for supplies that will help them reach a diamond mine. Tarzan vows to bring the criminals to justice, and discovers that their leader is an old enemy of his.

I’m not quite sure if I’d call this his “Greatest Adventure”, but if I were to make a list of the best ones I’ve seen, this one would be in the running. It’s an impressive entry in the series. There are only seven significant characters in the story, but they’re all uncommonly well-developed and well acted. Tarzan’s savagery is on display here; in fact, one of the themes of the movie is that Tarzan may be as motivated by personal revenge as he is by justice in his obsession with facing off with the main villain of the piece. The cast is excellent, and also includes Niall MacGinnis and a pre-Bond Sean Connery. The movie is filmed on location in Kenya, and this adds a great deal of flavor to the production. It’s one of the more adult entries in the Tarzan canon, but it’s also one of the most problematic for this series, as it’s one of the slimmest in terms of fantastic content; outside of the marginal fantasy content of Tarzan’s existence, there’s nothing. Still, this one is intense and gripping, and a short “Tarzan takes a swim” sequence is its sole nod to cuteness. This one is recommended.

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