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Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959)



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This strange take on the Tarzan character could have been about any jungle man, not just Tarzan in particular. In fact Tarzan's name is never spoken in it, so a simple title change and a redubbing of the distinctive yell used in the Weissmuller films would have severed all ties with Edgar Rice Burrough's character.

But the proceedings are still very much in the same spirit. Some white men, consisting primarily of a weak good guy, a strong bad guy, and a young damsel named Jane, go on safari in search of the mythical elephant burial grounds. They run afoul of the natives (rather stupidly in this case), and Tarzan comes to the rescue.

The special effects are hilariously awful, ranging from a rubber leopard to superimposing fire over native huts to lifting footage from Tarzan and His Mate despite that that film was black and white. Bad special effects won't break a well-acted or well-written film, but neither of those terms apply here either. The acting is wooden, Denny Miller as Tarzan is charmless, and half of what the characters say and do makes no sense whatsoever.

This is probably not the worst-ever Tarzan film, as it is sometimes considered, but it sure comes close.

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