Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959) Poster

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Quayle Makes It Personal
bkoganbing20 May 2009
You've got to have some set on you when you look to tangle with Tarzan on his turf. But one of the best villains ever to appear in a Tarzan film, Anthony Quayle does just that it in Tarzan's Greatest Adventure.

Gordon Scott plays the eternal jungle man in this Tarzan epic, the rights of which were taken over by Paramount from MGM and the late RKO studio where most of the films were done. Tarzan's dealing with Anthony Quayle and three henchman and a moll in Niall McGinniss, Al Mulock, Sean Connery and Scilla Gabel. These people have it in their mind to rob a diamond mine and kill a bunch of native villagers who get in their way. That brings Tarzan to action.

Along the way with dealing with Quayle and company Tarzan rescues female pilot Sara Shane whose plane crashed in a jungle river. Shane spouts some relatively hip dialog for Tarzan who does not speak in Johnny Weissmuller grunts, but with a concise English that befits Lord Greystoke.

Quayle has to deal with plenty of dissension in his ranks, but he's the cause of it. His associates want to go in, do the job, and get out as soon as possible. But Quayle has a score to settle with Tarzan who caught him and put him in jail.

Anthony Quayle appeared in many classic films, including a turn at Falstaff on the BBC's Shakespeare play series. But this film is the one I remember him best for. He is positively obsessed with evening the score with Tarzan, he puts the whole operation and his companions in jeopardy. In fact he's fashioned a wire noose for Tarzan to use on him should they meet.

Of course they do and the fight scene between Scott and Quayle is one of the most thrilling done on the silver screen and not just in the Tarzan series.

Sean Connery has a role as one of the henchmen, he doesn't get to do a whole lot, but he's got star quality and it's very apparent when he's on screen as a really dumb thug of a crook.

Still it's Anthony Quayle and his white whale like obsession with Tarzan that makes Tarzan's Greatest Adventure one of the better ones from the series.
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Goodbye, "Me, Tarzan"...
cariart6 January 2004
When producer Sy Weintraub took over the reins of the "Tarzan" franchise, in 1958, he set as his goal the dream of Edgar Rice Burroughs and countless fans of the Jungle Lord over the years; a return to the character as originally envisioned in Burroughs' novels. An intelligent, articulate 'defender of the jungle' gifted with nearly superhuman abilities, John Greystoke, aka Tarzan, had the savagery to survive in a primeval environment, but could also function comfortably in the world of men. MGM had thought the concept too far-fetched, and had turned Tarzan (as personified by Johnny Weissmuller) into a monosyllabic savage, only 'humanized' by the love of British society girl Jane Parker (Maureen O'Sullivan). When the formula proved successful, the Ape Man was 'locked' into the characterization, much to the chagrin of Burroughs, and when RKO took over the series, in 1943, no effort was made to change the formula. Weismuller eventually aged out of the role, but successor Lex Barker, despite credentials that would have made 'smartening' Tarzan logical (he was an Ivy Leaguer with a pedigree nearly as impressive as Greystoke), was forced to carry on the "Me, Tarzan" tradition through four more films.

When Barker became fed up with being stereotyped, and passed the Tarzan loincloth to ex-lifeguard Gordon Scott, in 1955, the powerfully-muscled Scott carried on the duties of role adequately, but the series had degenerated into low-budget formula pictures, only notable for an occasional future star in an early role (Vera Miles appeared in TARZAN'S HIDDEN JUNGLE, and would, in fact, marry Scott, after filming was completed).

After four mediocre Gordon Scott "Me, Tarzan" films, the time was ripe for change, and Weintraub was a man of vision, and terrific entrepreneurial skills. Not only would the actor speak full sentences in TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE, he'd be backed by a first-rate supporting cast, and the film would be the first "Tarzan" shot, in Technicolor, in Africa! With a large contingent of press on hand, the cast and crew arrived on location, and Gordon Scott proved himself the very personification of Tarzan, riding a zebra, wrestling a lion, and performing other tasks with grace and astonishing skill. It was an auspicious start to what would become a landmark "Tarzan" film.

The tale of a band of escaped British criminals killing innocents, and stealing dynamite for a robbery, the gang leader, Slade (Anthony Quayle) is a homicidal maniac that Tarzan had put in prison before, making the Ape Man's pursuit a 'personal' vendetta. Not even the presence of an alluring distraction (Sara Shane) would deter him on his quest, and the frequent close-ups of the scarred and cold-blooded Slade, and Tarzan, with a fixed, merciless grin across his face, give clear evidence of two predators, circling for a kill. As Tarzan whittles down the gang, the stage is set for a terrific, violent climactic fight that ranks as one of the best of the entire "Tarzan" series. When Tarzan beats his chest and gives the classic Ape yell at the conclusion of TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE, he's EARNED the right!

Featured in the cast is 29-year old Sean Connery, excellent as the brutal, but wise-cracking "O'Bannion", Slade's right-hand man, and he so impressed Weintraub and director John Guillermin that the pair actually asked him to become the next screen "Tarzan", after Gordon Scott's last contracted film, TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT. Connery, thrilled, was prepared to accept the role, but a call back from another audition...to play a secret agent in an upcoming production called DR. NO, resulted in a contract, and he, regretfully, passed on Tarzan, and became James Bond, instead! Weintraub ended up replacing Gordon with his 41-year old TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT co-star, Jock Mahoney, and the new, literate Tarzan would continue on into the sixties.

TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE may not be everyone's favorite Tarzan film, but in it's daring approach to both the character and the use of actual locations, it certainly deserves it's place as a classic of the series!
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We all die sooner or later. It's not a joke, but it's nothing to cry about.
Spikeopath7 January 2013
Tarzan's Greatest Adventure is directed by John Guillermin who also co- adapts the screenplay with Berne Giler from a story written by Les Crutchfield. Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs it stars Gordon Scott, Anthony Quayle, Sara Shane, Al Mulock, Sean Connery, Niall MacGinnis and Scilla Gabel. Music is by Douglas Gamley and cinematography by Ted Scaife.

When a native village is robbed of explosives and a couple of men are killed, it soon becomes apparent that the gang was led by a man called Slade. The mere mention of this name is of great interest to jungle man Tarzan (Scott), who promptly sets off in pursuit to settle an old score...

You can't reason with an idiot!

There's no Jane and Cheetah is barely in it, but this Tarzan "adventure" is all the more better for it. With Sy Weintraub producing, he was determined to steer Tarzan in a new cinematic direction, with a bit more mud, blood and literacy, Tarzan became as much for the adults as it was for the kids.

Actually the title, whilst true in the pantheon of Tarzan movies, still conjures up images of a kiddie friendly Tarzan, a more fitting title would have been Tarzan's Grudge! What unfolds in the story is a vengeful pursuit by Tarzan of a gang of diamond hunting crims led by a scarface Anthony Quayle. He uses his jungle whiles and hunting skills to pick them off if the opportunities arise, all the while accompanied by the foxy Angie (Shane) who literally dropped out of the sky and into the life of the loin cloth wearing one. Tarzan talks and isn't indestructible, but we still know there is savagery in the man, while on the boat up river the gang are an assortment of scallywags beginning to implode; which makes for rather good entertainment.

Film is infused with all the formulaic perils of jungle dramas (and comedies actually) past and present, reference crocodiles, spider, snake, quicksand, booby traps et al, but here it is definitely more fun and thrilling than annoying and cornball. Yes there is still some cheapness, with back screen projections, interwoven animal film footage and you really don't think Scott would be wrestling with a real life crocodile do you? But there's an edge to the narrative and it's great to see. Also helps to have a decent cast of actors on patrol as well, with Quayle leading the way as a broody bastardo. While Scott, looking in great shape and not unlike Kerwin Matthews, seems to be relishing the chance to play a Tarzan with grit and gumption.

The rope swings and famous yell are still here, but this is a much better and badder Tarzan and hooray to that. 7.5/10
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Great vision... Good characterization... Very entertaining!
Nazi_Fighter_David13 March 2001
British director John Guillermin was not entirely certain of how to make the character of Tarzan contemporary with the tendency towards realism...

Pulled by Sly Weinhaub's great vision, they made the Ape Man literate, but still disposed to chest-beating and ape-calls...Their screen treatment provided a 90 minute superior action film tightly interwoven and very entertaining...

"Tarzan's Greatest Adventure" quick-paced action is supplemented with violence and, in the absence of the wholesome Jane, we get two sexy women, a sensual Italian (Scilla Gabel) for the villains and a gaily blonde named Angie (Sara Shane), as the romantic interest for Scott who gives an excellent characterization...

The villains are four different British types: Slade (Anthony Quayle), Kruger (Nial McGinnis), O'Bannion (Sean Connery), and Dino (Al Mulock). In raiding a settlement for explosives to use in a diamond mine, they practically destroy it... Tarzan, discovering the cruelty, pursues them upriver to their mine...

For his parts in "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure," Sean Connery earned $5,600; his 'big' Bond film "You Only Live Twice" brought him $350,000.
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Exciting Adventure; Well-Filmed and Well-Acted; A New Sort of Tarzan
silverscreen8885 July 2005
This film I suggest, after many decades of Tarzanophilia, came nearer to capturing the ideal Tarzan than has any other such effort. In the MGM B/W version, geared for mental twelve-year-olds as they admittedly were, Johnny Weissmuller was saddled from the outset with a civilization-bred wife, then a child, short-word speech patterns, a lack of mental training and a great difficulty at freeing himself long enough to become involved in interesting adventures or important ones. In "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure", Sy Weintraub's color attempt to create a new and more Burroughsian Tarzan, as Edgar Rice Burroughs had envisioned the "ape man" in his intelligent fantasy series of novels caused him to introduce many changes. In this film Tarzan, played by attractive Gordon Scott, speaks English, has a thoughtful and trained mind, and is respected and deferred to by the local British officials because of his jungle lore and standing with everyone in the area. When a bandit gang invades the territory and murders several men in order to steal dynamite for use in a diamond stealing scheme, Tarzan believes he alone can prevent further murders such as they have just done and that only he can and must stop Slade, a ruthless escaped convict and psychopathic murderer, from becoming a great danger to everyone in his realm. This is not altruism on his part; he knows the man and knows Slade can never rest while Tarzan is alive, and vice versa. He goes after him, and ends up saddled with a spoiled and lovely pilot, with whom he shares a romance and the dangers of a truly great adventure. As Slade's criminal gang quarrel among themselves and try to stay ahead of Tarzan, whom they nearly manage to kill, he is saved by the pilot and finally overcomes and kills the last of them, Slade. Then the pilot has to go back to her world and Tarzan to his. In the very fine small cast the director, John Guillermin, got good performances from such stalwarts as Anthony Quayle, Sean Connery, Niall MacGinnis, Al Mulock and Scilla Gabel. The credit for the very expensive-looking production go to the director, as well as to cinematographer Edward Scaife and art director-production designer Michael Stringer. Music was supplied by Douglas Gamley. The film to me has a jungle look about it that borders on being rather stylish; such exciting scenes as the raid staged by Slade's men, the scenes on the boat by which he and his group proceed upriver, the plane crash that brings the pilot into Tarzan's life, her theft from the group of medicine to help him, and the deaths of the criminals one-by-one are very-well photographed and staged. This is a very good film, with its only drawback the apparently needless introduction into its villain, Slade, of a psychological preference for adventitious killing over even crimes committed for a simple purpose of theft. But overall, this was a very successful adventure, unusually-bright, attractive and well-presented. Connery is charismatic as an annoying type, Gabel very good in a thankless part, and Quayle and MacGinnis powerful as career criminals. Sara Shane was attractive, and as Tarzan, Gordon Scott proved to be a first-rate athlete and a serviceable leading man. A worthy and imaginative recasting of the Tarzan image on film.
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Greatest Tarzan Film
ewarn-18 September 2006
Easily the best Tarzan film ever made. So well produced it might have been filmed in 2006 instead of 1959, it's that good. As an action film it can't be beat by anything made today, much less almost fifty years ago. The scenery, photography, action, cast, everything in this is first rate.

If you're a Tarzan fan, I think this movie comes closest to capturing the essence of the original character. There has never been a better Tarzan than Gordon Scott, before or since. Not only does he look powerful, his face shows a complex range of conflicting emotions, like that of a man torn between the savage jungle world in which he survives and the civilized world that he realizes, for all his education and intelligence, he can't be a part of. In one amazing piece of acting, Scott kills an enemy, gives the Tarzan yell, then runs to a pool to watch his reflection, as if to reassure himself that he is still a man.

The story moves very fast as Tarzan pursues a gang of killers down a jungle river. Sean Connery, as one of the criminals, has an outstanding role as a nasty, bullying drunk. The other characters are so well written and acted that in a few minutes we are given amazing insight into their motivations. There are several well directed action sequences, all very plausible, and the location photography is so good you feel the jungle heat.

With the presence of Connery and other great actors, it's hard to believe this film has not been seen more, or at least released on DVD. The only drawback is that it's too good, kind of like the Bond flick "Goldfinger" and any follow up films would pale in comparison.
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Entertaining but violent Tarzan/Gordon Scott movie , in which stands out Anthony Quayle as a ruthless villain
ma-cortes9 January 2019
Colorful and entertaining a Tarzan/Scott movie , though dubiously faithful to Edgar Rice Borroughs story . Tarzan is out to capture a quintet (Niall MacGinnis , Sean Connery , Scilla Gabel ,Sean Connery , Al Mulock ) of British diamond hunters in Africa led by Slade (Anthony Quayle) , who murdered a pair of natives while stealing supplies to get dynamite for use in a diamond mine. In doing so they nearly destroy the hospital settlement, so and Tarzan (Gordon Scott) goes after them to their mine . Meanwhile , an airplane en route to Kenia has an accident in the jungle . The private plane is piloted by Angie (Sara Shane) , an avid flyer whose hobby is aviation .Tarzan encounters the downed crashed plane , rescues the gorgeous girl who crashes her small airplane and leads her throughout the lush jungle . Along the way Tarzan develops amorous feelings for Angie and they start to Kiss themselves . As for Slade and his group, greed , betrayal , envy and jealousy ,take the motley bunch , and they are taking down one by one , leaving only a few of them for Tarzan to battle in the finish . Then , Tarzan is nearly killed in the jungle in a dynamite blast by Slade and things go wrong . Adventure's Mightiest Hero Lives His Mightiest Adventure!

This ¨Tarzan's lastest adventure ¨contains noisy action , sensational adventures , many angry natives , nasty white hunters , hungry Crocs and wonderful outdoors , though mostly shot in Africa , studios and excessive use stock footage . Well starred by Gordon Scott , here Tarzan/Scott rescues a flyer and takes on five cutthroat diamond hunters . Tarzan on his hunt upriver is accompanied by a beautiful American pilot well played by Sara Shane , who has crash landed nearby , and Tarzan falls for her . Gordon Scott brings wit , bravery and style to the classic character . Afer of a job as a lifeguard at the Las Vegas Sahara Hotel led him to leave his delivery job. Soon thereafter, a Hollywood talent scout took note of him and signed him to a contract with Sol Lesser, producer of the Tarzan movies. His handsome features, muscular physique, and imposing height made him an excellent choice to replace Lex Barker as Tarzan, and he won out over 200 candidates for the role. It was Lesser who changed his name from Werschkul to Scott. Scott's Tarzan films ranged from rather cheap re-edited television pilots to larger scale epics. Two of them, Tarzan's lastest adventure (1959) and Tarzan the magnificent (1960) are generally considered to be among the very best Tarzan films ever made. Scott's and his writers' particular gifts to the series included returning Tarzan to his former status as a literate, well-spoken character. Following his departure from the Tarzan films, he moved to Italy and became a popular star of what were known as "sword and sandal" epics, featuring handsome body-builders as various characters from Greek and Roman myth. Scott was a friend of Hercules star Steve Reeves, and collaborated with him as Remus to Reeves's Romulus in Rómulo y Remo (1961). Scott also played such mythic heroes as Goliath, Zorro, and Buffalo Bill in various low-budget productions during the mid-1960s . Gordon starred 5 Tarzan movies : ¨Tarzan's fights for life¨ by H. Bruce Humberstone , ¨Tarzan and the trappers¨ by Sandy Howard and Charles Haas , ¨Tarzan's greatest adventure¨ produced by Sy Weintraub , directed by John Guillermin , "Tarzan and the Lost Safari" and ¨Tarzan the magnificent¨ by Robert Day . Although Gordon Scott also played all kinds of genres as Spaghetti : ¨Tramplers¨, Euro-spy : ¨Death ray¨ , Pirate movie : ¨Marauder¨ , and especially Peplum : ¨Hércules and the princess of Troy¨, ¨Coriolanus¨, ¨Conquest of Mycene¨, ¨Gladiator of Rome¨, ¨Hero of Rome¨, ¨Samson and the 7 miracles of the world¨. His final film appearance, apparently, was in "The Tramplers," filmed in 1966, released in the U. S. in 1968. Scott was married apparently three times, including once to his Tarzan co-star, actress Vera Miles, from 1954 to 1959.

Support cast is pretty good , such as the Italian Scilla Gabel who starred various Peplum and the ordinary secondaries as Niall MacGinnis , Al Mulock who committed suicide in Spain while shooting ¨Once upon a time in the West¨; furthermore , a young newcomer : Sean Connery . And special mention for the nasty Anthony Quayle , really stealing the show , and giving a nice interpretation . And of course , the likable Chimpanzee Cheeta, though appears only during a few lines , delivering some brief humorous moments with his antics , frolics and mayhem . As usual , sets and production design are visually appealing , though there are the obvious uses of stock footage and shot on location in Kikuyu, Kenya . Including a brilliant and shimmering cinematography by Edward Scaife . And atmospheric as well as evocative soundtrack by Douglas Hamley .This was the first film for producer Sy Weintraub , he would make Tarzan adventures, including the popular television series, throughout the 1960s. The motion picture was well produced by Sy Weintraub and decently directed by John Guillermin . Being professionally directed by John Guillermin , habitual of disaster films ( Skyjacked , King Kong , Kong lives ) , adventures ( Tarzan in India , Tarzan's greatest adventure , Sheena ) , Wartime ( Bridge of Remangen , Guns at Batasi , I was Monty's double ) and intrigue ( Death on the Nile , Shaft in Africa , The whole truth ) . John Guillermin usually worked with George Peppard in various films ( such as P.J , House of cards and Blue Max) and Peter Sellers (Never let go , Walz of the Toreadors) .Rating : Good and entertaining , it's a fairly watchable and breathtaking film , in which the splendid casting stands out and results to be a good and original treatment of Tarzan series .The picture will appeal to adventure buffs and Gordon Scott fans
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The Prototype Blockbuster
james-mcconnachie331 July 2005
This film was made 25 years too early. Thats a fact.

Movies from the late 50's were usually worthy efforts but little stirred the blood apart from the Western genre. After all this was the area that sold most tickets and had a palette of colour that helped storytelling. Tarzan movies only sold as part of a double bill.

The biggest factor that held TGA back was that it was a GREAT film in an otherwise p**s poor series of B movies. The reasons for its success are many and hard to pin down. Even so, the main one is easy to identify. Simply put, its a hard b*****d of a film.

1) Tarzan is hard, resourceful, eloquent and cunning. 2) Tarzan gets hurt. The masochistic theme runs throughout the film. People die painfully in this Tarzan universe. 3) The villains are brutally nasty and can physically match Tarzan. 4) It is stripped down and lean. There's no laughs here. Tarzan leaves Cheetah behind. Tarzan doesn't romance or swim in studio back-lots. Tarzan kills people. He doesn't just scare the natives.

In short, TGA was a precursor of what was to come in Hollywood film-making. All you kids out there who watch Predator and think that is the greatest jungle adventure watch TGA. It'll be an eye opener.
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Lives up to its title
Robert-15927 November 1999
I haven't seen this movie for a while, but it's the Tarzan film that I remember with the most affection. "TGA" was the first Tarzan movie to be produced by Sy Weintraub (who took over the franchise from Sol Lesser), and the new producer wanted to take the character in a new direction. He succeeded admirably. After "Tarzan and His Mate" (with its notorious nude scene) in 1934, the series had been geared mostly towards younger viewers.

Weintraub wisely sought to reclaim a more mature audience. "TGA" is the first Tarzan film since the 1930s to have the apeman speak in complete sentences, and Gordon Scott relaxes into the role more than he had in his earlier, less articulate efforts. It's a credit to Scott's acting that he was able to make the transition so well from the "ooga-ooga" Tarzan to "TGA's" more thoughtful, more cunning interpretation of the character. The film even hints at a sexual relationship between Tarzan and Angie (Sara Shane), who is more feisty and more fun to watch than any Jane. (In fact, a kissing scene between Tarzan and Angie was left on the cutting-room floor).

But most important of all "TGA" still stands up as both an adventure movie and a character study. While not quite as polished as a prestigious A-picture, the story and the action scenes still grip the viewer. The psychological deterioration and in-fighting between the bad guys is very believable. Anthony Quayle brings as much seriousness and credibility to the role of the ringleader as he brings to his Shakespeare work, and even though his time on the screen is relatively brief, a young Sean Connery still shows early glimmers of the brilliant charisma that would make him one of the world's most enduring stars. "TGA" makes good use of its cast, and the movie strikes an exciting equilibrium between its dialogue scenes and its action scenes. You can imagine this film working as an adventure drama even if Tarzan weren't in it. And perhaps to signal the series' more adult-oriented emphasis, Tarzan's yodeling ape call is voiced only once: at the very end of the film. There's only one thing regrettable about this movie: it got so many of its adventure elements right that the rest of the films in Weintraub's Tarzan series had a hard time living up to it.

Striking a good balance between action and drama--and boasting a very watchable cast--"Tarzan's Greatest
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Why isn't this great film on video
pasta-619 August 1999
I went to see this film originally on a double bill with a Hammer horror film. I came out liking TGA better. From the tense opening scenes, the great photography, fine acting by all to the exciting conclusion, this is the BEST Tarzan film of all time! Why aren't TGA and Tarzan ther Magnificent available on video for all to enjoy ?
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Tarzan for the big boys
girvanpaterson3 February 2016
I always thought that 'Tarzan's Greatest Adventure' was the first Tarzan film made for the grown ups! Filmed on location, widescreen and Technicolor and decent production values, it's a great stand alone adventure film, with Scott as an articulate King of the jungle leading a top notch cast including the young pre James Bond Sean Connery putting in a good turn as one of the villains! No Jane, Cheetah's left in the tree house, so Tarzan can get on with it! And the result is one of, if not the most thrilling Tarzan film of them all! Don't get me wrong, I loved Johnny, Lex, Bruce Bennett and Buster Crabbe, but this is the film that takes the genre to a whole new level!
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The Best Tarzan Movie Ever Made
slightlymad2211 September 2014
This is easily the best Tarzan movie ever made.

Four British villains raid a settlement to obtain explosives for use in a diamond mine. In doing so they kill two men, so Tarzan sets off on pursuit of them.

George Scott is a perfectly cast as the title character. Both handsome and masculine in equal amounts. Anthony Quayle is the main villain of the movie Slade and he is aided by a pre Bond Sean Connery as O'Bannion in one of his first decent roles.

The stock footage, which plagues so many Tarzan movies by sticking out like a sore thumb is evident here, but it's not as distracting. We get to see Cheetah, but it's only briefly and instead of Jane we get two very attractive women Sara Shane and Scilla Gabel.

The action scenes are well executed and over all it's a well directed movie.
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Excellent Adventure Movie
lee-stamm19 September 2009
This movie is a no nonsense, realistic action film, bolstered by a capable cast, a believable story and colorful location shooting. Gordon Scott showed here that he had some acting talent as well as the good physique. The rest of the actors in general, and Anthony Quayle in particular, are quality professionals whose performances keep things interesting. Unlike earlier films in the Tarzan genre, they actually went to Africa to shoot this one and the difference really shows. These items, along with generally good production values, fairly tight direction, and beautiful color photography move this film well above the norm. Definitely a welcome departure from earlier Tarzan films. Highly recommended.
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One of the best Tarzan movies
Utti7 July 2004
After years of dismal adventures in the studio backlots, this time they took Tarzan to Africa to act in a Western. This little gem has everything the Budd Boetticher - Randolph Scott great Westerns had, only in a somewhat different location. The bad guys disguise themselves as blacks in order to raid a settlement for explosives - exactly like many a bandit would put on paint to look like an Indian in Western movies. Even Gordon Scott's Tarzan becomes a Westerner bent on avenging innocent deaths: like Randolph Scott, he does not speak too much, but lets his actions speak for themselves. I love the old Weissmuller pictures, too - but apart from them, this movie and its follow-up, "Tarzan the Magnificent", are among the best Tarzan movies ever made. Economically directed (John Guillermin), superbly photographed (Edward Scaife, Nicolas Roeg), neatly acted (Anthony Quayle, Sean Connery). Don't expect Cheetahs or cheap laughs: expect for a tight, action-packed revenge Western set in Africa.
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Shout Out for Gordon Scott
wes-connors2 October 2011
Scar-faced Anthony Quayle (as Slade) and his cut-throat crew are in Africa looking to get rich on diamonds, which doesn't sit well with loin-clothed lord of the jungle Gordon Scott (as Tarzan). Beautiful Sara Shane (as Angie) crashes the scene, gets rescues by Mr. Scott and chased by a lion. All of this sounds like the usual fare, but there is a rub. With new producer Sy Weintraub taking over, the "Tarzan" franchise decided to become more adult in orientation. In an early scene, Scott symbolically bids farewell to his adorable chimp "Cheta" before going on to face real danger...

Parents who sat with their kids for the "Tarzan" films must have been squirming in their seats as "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure" presented increasingly realistic scenes of violence. Drama teachers could be proud as Scott and his guest stars, including sexy while clothed Sean Connery (as O'Bannion), are given opportunities to do some real acting, too. The inserted animals are still a stock footage nuisance, and it's easy to over-praise this film in context, but keep watching as the exciting ending may be the series' best. Scott had good reason to give a "Tarzan" shout-out.

******* Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (7/8/59) John Guillermin ~ Gordon Scott, Anthony Quayle, Sara Shane, Sean Connery
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Above-average Tarzan adventure
gridoon201924 March 2018
Gordon Scott's raw masculine power as Tarzan is always awe-inspiring; this time he seems to have practiced his vine-swinging too, because - when he finally does it - he is not doubled. And he is aided by a strong supporting cast - especially an already charismatic pre-Bond Sean Connery. This is a gritty, violent (for the era), well-paced and well-shot adventure-thriller, although the stock footage of real animals is still glaringly obvious. If there is something remarkable about this story, it's that Tarzan doesn't really have to do much; his mere presence causes the bad guys to disintegrate by themselves. **1/2 out of 4.
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Tarzan's Greatest Adventure
mhrabovsky691219 July 2007
Most Tarzan fans will recall the lousy, poorly acted black and white films of Johnny Weismuller and Lex Barker....there were lots of grunts, elephants, nasty villains and wild out of control natives. Saw one, pretty much saw them all kind of thing. Then after producer Sol Lesser sold the Tarzan rights to producer Sy Weintraub the series got serious. In 1955 a bulging muscleman named Gordon Scott took over the role of Tarzan. His first Tarzan was a dud called "Tarzan's Hidden Jungle", another 1940s, early 50s style Tarzan with the typical bad guys, elephants and natives getting restless. Weintraub had a vision of a much more intelligent Tarzan. A man who could think, reason, and not grunt or say 2-3 word sentences for a whole film. Scott after four average to poor Tarzan films got a top notch script with excellent actors/villains for TGA. Story concerns Tarzan tracking down 5 mean, nasty villains who had murdered several people stealing dynamite needed to blow up a diamond mine they intended to plunder. Scott is very likable and very well adjusted to the role of an intelligent Tarzan. He thinks, makes smart comments and is all business as he decides to wipe out the bad guys. Thrown in for some good mixture are two very beautiful ladies, one a villain, a gorgeous Italian lady named Scilla Gabel and an aviatrix lost on a trip from England named Angie, played by noted British model Sara Shane. Shane soon crashes her plane as she tries to dive bomb Tarzan with some fancy plane maneuvers. Scott rescues her and tries hard throughout the whole film not to show his feelings of affection for her. A torchy kissing scene with Tarzan and Shane is taken out of the final cut. Along the way Scott wipes out each villain one by one until his final showdown with the villain leader, Anthony Quayle. A superb final minutes of the film show Tarzan periously dueling Quayle on the edge of a mountain top with a nasty 100 ft. drop. Quayle gives Tarzan all he can handle and the fighting scenes at the finish are very well photographed and acted out.....Scott is exhausted as he dumps Quayle over the edge and gives out the famous Tarzan yell in triumph. This Tarzan tale is far and away the best with a very tight knit script and no wasted minutes....you will be kept on the edge of your seat throughout the film as Tarzan closes in on his enemies while serenading Shane. At the end Shane departs and Tarzan returns to his realm. Scott is handsome and muscular to the extreme in this film. Followed up by the equally good "Tarzan the Magnificent" with Scott. Don't miss either film if you are a Tarzan fan. Scott to me by far the best Tarzan ever and the most muscular.
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Strong Performances and Action
Michael_Elliott28 November 2011
Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959)

*** (out of 4)

Gordon Scott's fifth attempt at playing Tarzan is certainly a step above the previous four. In this outing he must try and track down four British diamond smugglers who are blowing up African villages trying to gather supplies for when they reach this diamond cave. Along the way Tarzan rescues a woman (Sara Shane) and she joins him for the adventure. TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE was clearly meant to try and take the series to a higher quality level and I think it's fair to say that this is the most lavished film in the long running series since the early MGM/Johnny Weissmuller films. I think there's a lot of good here and this is clearly one of the best films in the series. You can start off with Scott who by this time was perfectly comfortable in the role and you must admit that he's probably the best Tarzan since Weissmuller. The actor certainly has the physical appearance to pull the part off but he also works well when it comes to delivering the dialogue. The earlier films always had Tarzan speaking in this weird broken English but this wasn't how the character was originally written so it's nice to see a different approach and Scott does a very good job with it. The supporting cast is equally great here including Shane who makes for a terrific love interest. The actress is very strong in the part and her and Scott share some real chemistry. The bad guys are all terrific with Anthony Quayle doing a remarkable job as the main guy. Niall MacGinnis is perfect as the snake diamond expert and a young Sean Connery plays the loud-mouth tough guy. Another major plus is that the majority of this was actually filmed in a jungle and this really adds some nice atmosphere. The cinematography really picks up everything quite nicely and adds an added dimension. The story itself is another winner as it clearly tries to break away from a lot of the comedy and silliness that a lot of the series had. Instead of comedy we pretty much get one action scene after another and most of them are quite fun and a few even has some nice suspense. There's a chilling scene involving quicksand and of course you have to have Tarzan battling a crocodile. With that said, if you're looking for high art you're certainly not going to find it here but there's no question that this is an entertaining little film with some strong performances and nice action.
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Tarzan's Savage Fury!!!
zardoz-131 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Towering Inferno" director John Guillermin's franchise adventure "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure" lives up to its title. Truly, this ranks not only as one of the top five "Tarzan" movies of all time, but it also qualifies as Gordon Scott's best ape man opus. Indeed, anybody who grew up on Johnny Weismuller "Tarzan" movies may be surprised at the savage, gritty nature of this somber-minded thriller. You get to see Tarzan looking vulnerable in one scene after a blast from explosion. Later, Guillermin stages a memorably haunting scene. Tarzan is pursuing four treacherous troublemakers up river. They are plying the river in a motorized boat, while the Lord of the Jungle follows them along the banks. At one point, two slimy unshaven thugs who have little use for each other clash over a necklace. O'Bannion (Sean Connery) steals the necklace with a locket that belongs to Dino (Al Murlock) and taunts him. The two men scramble into the jungle. The first thug rags the second. As the second thug runs after the first, a jungle cat leaps out of nowhere and mauls his face. Screaming in agony, the second thug goes staggering without thought into what turns out to quicksand. He dies with a forearm jutting out of the quicksand. The first thug is incredulous. Nobody the first thug or their boss can reach him, he has sunk in the mire. The only indication that he died in the bog is his right forearm sticking up out of the quicksand. The incredulous first thug flings the necklace and it lands on a tree limb inches above the thug's grasping fingers. This unforgettable shot rivals a similar shot in John Boorman's "Deliverance." The second most haunting shot occurs when a woman plunges to her death in a trap set for Tarzan. Guillerman sets up his camera so that all we see is her bloody hand surrounded by dozens of sharpened bamboo stakes. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out that what isn't shown is the women's body impaled on a multitude of such stakes.

The action unfolds with three of the four villains masquerading as dark-skinned natives. They strike a village and steal some wooden crates of TNT and paddle off down the river. They kill a man but before he dies, he lets somebody on the radio know who is responsible to the theft and his death. Tarzan (Gordon Scott) learns that his old nemesis Slade (Anthony Quale of "Anne of the Thousand Days") is responsible. Tarzan knows Slade because they tracked down separately a rogue elephant. Slade killed the rogue elephant before Tarzan could. Nevertheless, two men who accompanied Slade died because they got in his way. Tarzan follows Slade and his henchmen, a drunken Irish troublemaker O'Bannion (Sean Connery of "Dr. No"), ex-convict who murdered his own father, Dino (Al Mulock), an obese, spectacled gem expert, Kruger (Niall MacGinnis of "The Mackintosh Man"), and Slade's girlfriend Toni (Scilla Gabel of "Son of Cleopatra") as they head for a diamond mine.

Before Tarzan embarks on his quest to catch Slade, he encounters a questionable woman. Angie (Sara Shane of "Magnificent Obsession") is a single woman who does what she wants. Indeed, there is a hint that she is a high-priced call girl. She likes what she sees in Tarzan and follows him up the river, but she does it from the sky in a plane. There is a bit of "Tarzan and the Lost Safari" in this "Tarzan" film. Angie develops engine trouble, crashes her single-engine, propeller-driven craft in the river. A crocodile swims after her until Tarzan intervenes. Angie learns that life in the jungle is no picnic and the constant marching through the jungle takes a toll on her glamorous looks. Meantime, the villains emerge as a thoroughly loathsome group. They wind up trying to kill each other. O'Bannion drives Dino crazy when he steals his necklace locket. British actor Anthony Quale is a rugged, unscrupulous, but cautious adversary who takes no chances. In other words, Tarzan does a little more sweating in this adventure than you'd expect. Tarzan traps Slade and company on the river by felling a tree behind them so they cannot go anywhere. He drives them into the cabin of their boat with arrows. Slade breaks out the dynamite and they hurl sticks of TNT at the ape man. One of the blasts knocks Tarzan out of the tree. Angie winds up helping an inert Tarzan. Slade becomes so obsessed with killing Tarzan that he fashions a noose and dreams about getting Tarzan's head in it. When Slade isn't fantasizing about strangling Tarzan with the noose, he digs a pit and lines it with bamboo stakes. Later, when Angie tries to steal some medicine from Slade's boat, Toni gets the drop on her and captures her. Kruger releases Angie and Toni flees to warn Slade. A lion pursues Toni but Slade shoots it. However, Toni stumbles into a trap laid for Tarzan and dies a horrible death.

The finale with Slade and Tarzan atop the waterfall fighting to the death is gripping stuff. Earlier, Guillermin establish the blood feud between Tarzan and Slade. After Kruger and Slade enter an abandoned copper mine where Slade found diamonds, Slade doesn't dream about the fortune in ice that they can excavate from the mind. Instead, he drools over the prospect of killing Tarzan. Tarzan manages to recuperate from his injuries with Angie's help and tells her that he doesn't need any help to kill Slade. Momentarily, Tarzan and Angie flirt, but Tarzan wants to kill Slade more than share a bed with Angie. Yes, this is a "Tarzan" movie! A better title might have been "Tarzan's Savage Fury."
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The best of all
beresfordjd23 April 2010
While Gordon Scott was not the best actor in the world he actually made the best pre-Greystoke Tarzan movie. The story is exciting with Tarzan pitted against a murderous band of criminals led by Slade (wonderfully played and made totally believable by the late and very great Anthony Quayle). He is assisted in his brutal endeavours by a youngish Sean Connery as O'Bannion just before he became a megastar in his Bond movies. I loved the quicksand sequences - is there something wrong with me? I reckon a really good remake could be a blockbuster action movie. Mind you I am not a huge fan of remakes - there is no point in trying to gild the lily!! Anyway it has been a number of years since I saw this movie but it has stayed with me - I saw it three or possibly four times as a youngster and enjoyed it lots every time. I am watching it again as I type and given it's age it still stands up as a great action picture. Many, if not most of the Tarzan films tended towards the cheesy side of things and are a bit of an embarrassment to watch now but I imagine this would still hold up as an action film even now.
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Tarzan's Deadly Man Hunt
lugonian9 September 2018
TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE (Paramount, 1959), a Sy Weintraub and Harvey Hayuting Presentation, directed by John Guillermin, may not be the jungle lord's greatest adventure on screen, but at least this is one of them. For its first distribution through Paramount Pictures as opposed to previous studio releases of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and RKO Radio, this latest Tarzan installment certainly not only improves over older material, but offers many changes from previous installments, with the exception of Gordon Scott, having enacted the Edgar Rice Burrough's character since 1955. Scott speaks naturally, probably for the first time since the Tarzan character was introduced to the talking screen by Johnny Weissmuller in TARZAN THE APE MAN (MGM, 1932). As with Scott's debut as the title character in TARZAN'S HIDDEN JUNGLE (RKO, 1955), there is no female Jane companion nor their son, Boy, in the proceeding. There is his pet chimpanzee, Cheta, but for this edition, is reduced to only a few minutes before disappearing from view. For this Tarzan update, it strays away from family oriented movie viewing to more realistic proceedings, having the ape man going it alone, and having to capture a villain, who in fact, happens to be Tarzan's arch enemy. From the story by Les Crutchfield, TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE opens with a prologue of diamond smugglers and tribesmen rowing their boat into a territory of the Mann Settlement Hospital to steal crates of dynamite for their proposed diamond smuggling that is to take place. After gun shots are fired, and fatality of a couple of innocent people, the opening credits flash onto the screen in the similar fashion of 1960s movies and beyond. The plot consists of villains, Slade (Anthony Quayle), the leader, with O'Bannion (Sean Connery), Kruger (Niall McGinnis), Dino (Al Mulock) and the pretty blonde companion, Toni (Scilla Gabel, getting the "introducing" credit during its cast credits) rowing their canoe down the river where Slade looks fiercely towards a tree-house through their passing. Tarzan (Gordon Scott) who lives in the tree-house with his chimpanzee, Cheta, listens to the drum beat messages to what has happened. He then avenges the killings of his friends by braving the jungle alone, carrying bow and arrow (like Robin Hood) and pocket knife to get the men responsible, especially that his rival named Slade, whom he had dealt with before in the past. As Tarzan rows his canoe down the river, he witnesses an airplane crash where aviatrix, Angie Loring (Sara Shane), not only survives, but accompanies him through his dangerous journey involving poisonous spiders, snakes and crocodiles, to fulfill his mission. As for Slade, who knows of Tarzan's pursuit, he would want nothing more than to do away with Tarzan the first chance he gets. Once the plot gets down to basics, TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE really becomes a fast-paced 88 minute adventure consisting of new ideas and screenplay originality. With Eastman Color by Pathe, the production benefits greatly with location filming in Africa and British studios. Aside from Tarzan speaking like an educated man, he saves his famous Tarzan call a couple of times much later in the story. There are moments where it looks like Tarzan would be defeated, considering his bow and arrow would be no threat to Slade's gunshots or exploding sticks of dynamite. Their final confrontation of Tarzan and Slade is truly one of the great highlights of well-staged excitement.

Though Cheta's disappearance is explained, there is no mention to whatever became of Tarzan's family of Jane and Boy from TARZAN'S FIGHT FOR LIFE (1958), almost as if these characters never existed. Possibly the writers should have, at least, briefly mentioned them as being away in England with Boy getting educated in the London schools, or something like that. Otherwise Tarzan here is very much a bachelor (or widower) who at one point shows a remarkable interest in his female blonde aviatrix. As much as the cast listing is brief, it's interesting seeing Sean Connery, shortly before achieving fame as "James Bond" in a series of successful spy adventures of the 1960s, playing a drunken hunter. The female co-stars, Sara Shane and the accented Scilla Gabel (who somewhat resembles Sophia Loren), are attractive, but are virtually unknown to contemporary viewers. TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE would follow with TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT (1960), another superior outing to the long-running "Tarzan" Series starring Gordon Scott as the jungle hero for his sixth and final time. Formerly shown on cable television's American Movie Classics (1997-2000), and later broadcast on Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: October 1, 2011), TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE never had a video cassette distribution but can be acquired on DVD as part of the Gordon Scott/Tarzan collection. (***)
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Greatest ? Well At Least "Most Adult" as we see it !
redryan649 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
RATHER THAN CHOOSING the title of "Tarzan's Greatest......". perhaps something like "Tarzan's Most Adult Picture". That would apply, at least up to this release in 1959.

NOW BY THE use of terms like "Adult", we are not suggesting that this Gordon Scott entry into the Jungle Lord's lengthy resume of motion pictures is in any way akin to "porn" or to the X Rated categorization. It does, however have much to recommend it to those who have grown past the age bracket of the "Saturday Afternoon Matinee Crowd."

THE MOST STRIKING bit of evidence that would support our assertion would be the relationship between Tarzan and the character of African Bush Pilot (and maybe medic), Angie-as portrayed by Sara Shane. After helping to nurse the Ape-man back to a reasonable facsimile of his former fighting trim, the two have a scene together that cuts away very quickly. In the fade out, Angie is rushing toward Tarzan with great expression of passion on her face. When the screen action returns to the pair, it shows Miss Angie adjusting, closing and tying her blouse.

NOW WE ADMIT that is not very much, but this was 1959 and a small dose of implication went a long way; especially when compared to the explicit sex portrayed in today's cinema. Any pretense of subtlety or allowing the audience to draw its own conclusion have log ago vanished.

ONE THING THAT was a sort of borrowed bit of on screen business from so many of our Westerns; be they "B" or otherwise. was the opening sequence. In it a group of 4 Black men in native dress approach a local village Hospital and manage to kill at least two men, while in the progress of robbing the institution of some explosives. We are soon made aware (if we hadn't already surmised) that the renegade African tribesmen were in reality renegade Whites, masquerading as locals. It was a matter of using a slight variation the old "Outlaws disguised as Indians" that we've seen so many times in the "Oaters."

AS FOR THE CAST, it was small, but very effective. It featured Anthony Quayle and Sean Connery; both of whom would be moving up the cinematic ladder with roles in some big, big films. For Mr. Quayle it was as Colonel Harry Brighton in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and for Sean it was that of James Bond, 007 in DR. NO.

ROUNDING OUT the very international cast were: Niall MacGuiness (Ireland), Al Mullock (Canada) and the very lovely,Scilla Gabel (Italy).

ONE THING THAT makes this entry into the Tarzan saga is its return to the basics. There is very little to the screenplay and scenario. It is essentially the story of two very disparate factions, the bad guys vs. Tarzan and his lovely companion. Both groups are desperately trying to get somewhere, with both getting in the other's way.

IN THE END, as we all thought, it was Tarzan and Angie, who triumphed before going their own, separate ways. She wanted her airplanes and Modern Western Civilization, he said he preferred living in his Jungle home.

WITH REGARD TO Tarzan' s seeming indiscretion with Sara Shane's character of Angie, what would we or should we tell Jane ? Well, we think this happened before Lord John Greystoke (Tarzan) met Jane Porter, his future spouse.
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Enjoyable (if routine) programmer
Leofwine_draca13 January 2012
The fifth in the series of Gordon Scott-starring Tarzan films and a fun little programmer for the fans – although those looking for anything other than a straightforward, surprise-free action/adventure will be disappointed. TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE sets out with a horrible crime, and for the rest of the film has Tarzan on the track of those who committed the said crime, gradually whittling their numbers down one by one. The action scenes are a lot of fun, especially the clifftop climax.

This is obviously a film aimed at the kids, because the characters are paper-thin. Introductions are kept to a minimum and loyalties are sketched in purely black-and-white turns. Indeed, the only actor who gives what can be called a real performance is Anthony Quayle, playing the big villain who has some kind of a grudge against our jungle-dwelling hero. Gordon Scott, well-oiled in this role by now, is likable and athletic, the only qualities that are really required for playing the titular hero.

The supporting cast is more interesting than you'd expect in a typical B-movie. The fat German bad guy is played by Niall MacGinnis, the nasty black wizard from NIGHT OF THE DEMON, while another of the crooks is played by a pre-fame Sean Connery (displaying the kind of screen presence that led him on to burn up the screen as Bond). Yet another bad guy, Al Mulock, appeared in a series of spaghetti westerns before committing suicide while filming ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. Sara Shane is the blonde pin-up love interest, although I preferred the bad girl, played by Italian temptress Scilla Gabel (MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN). Director John Guillermin later found fame with his classic disaster movie, THE TOWERING INFERNO. Not bad resumes for most of the actors appearing in this!
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