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Tarzan swings to the rescue of his beloved Jane in this remake.
In early twentieth-century Africa, British hunter Col. James Parker welcomes his daughter Jane who is returning from England after many years. Jane arrives on her father's boat, piloted by Parker's partner, hunter and guide Harry Holt. Unaware of the heated tribal conflicts in the area, Jane naively supports a lone Watusi, Riano, on the boat and is bitter about Holt's indifference to the native's precarious situation. After docking, Jane lets Riano out of his locked quarters, which causes a riot by local natives on the pier. In the ensuing commotion, the boat is accidentally set on fire and sinks. Parker and Holt rescue Jane, while Holt's native aid guides Riano to safety. Later at Parker's dilapidated lodging, the colonel admits to Jane that over the years his business has faltered steadily and has been particularly hard hit by the simmering tribal warfare. Jane explains that when her father's financial support dwindled, her fiancé abandoned her, prompting her return to Africa. Holt recommends that the Parkers depart, as without the safety of the boat, they will be vulnerable to the imminent native uprisings. When Riano tells Holt that he intends to return to his tribe, Parker scoffs about the native's ability to survive as he travels through dangerous territory. Upon examining the markings on Riano's bracelet, Holt excitedly realizes the man is from a distant tribe that resides in an uncharted area long rumored to have a vast supply of ivory. Having failed at farming and trading, Holt decides to accompany Riano and, spurred on by the idea of restoring her father's lost personal fortune, Jane persuades the colonel to join Holt. After bribing some natives to serve as bearers and gathering supplies in a wagon, the group sets off and over several days struggle through the heat and jungle. Unknown to the group they are observed by Tarzan, a white man who has spent his entire life living among the animals in the jungle. One night while Tarzan watches the camp, a leopard cub accidentally slips inside Jane's tent and when the mother leopard stalks the tent, Tarzan kills the animal before returning to the jungle unseen. The next day, the group comes upon an elephant herd and when charged by an old bull, Holt kills it, but the native bearers are frightened away. The gunshot starts a charge by another elephant and, hoping to divert it from the wagon, Holt runs toward the trees but is entangled in a native rope-trap. Jane distracts the bull and flees into the jungle, before fainting in fear. Having heard the shots, Tarzan arrives and halts the elephant, then carries Jane away to his treetop lair. Meanwhile Parker rescues Holt and, joined by Riano, search for Jane. When Jane revives later, she is startled by her location, then frightened by Tarzan, who offers her fruit and flowers. Terrified that she is about to be assaulted, Jane prays, then is perplexed when Tarzan uncomprehendingly mouths some of her words. Reassured when Tarzan leaves her alone for the night, Jane ventures down to river the next morning and is awed by Tarzan's unique and peaceful relationship with the surrounding animals. Later, Jane swims with Tarzan and is touched by his playful gentle nature. That afternoon while Jane naps in the tree house, one of Tarzan's pet chimpanzees plays with her mirror, and Parker, Holt and Riano spot the reflected light. Seeing Jane and believing her to be in danger, Parker orders Holt to kill the monkey, then the men pull Jane away. Jane explains that Tarzan rescued and cared for her kindly, but Holt dismisses her explanation and insists they resume their expedition immediately. Attracted by the gunshots, a local native tribe pursues the group, but Tarzan, who has followed at a distance, summons animals to stampede, thus driving off the would-be attackers. Afterward, Holt declares he will continue with Riano, despite the loss of the wagon in the stampede and the bearers' desertion. When Parker and Holt argue about proceeding, Tarzan attacks Holt, believing he intends to harm Parker. Jane stops the fight and, confused, Tarzan returns to the jungle. Jane urges her father to remain with Holt and the expedition continues. Tarzan's surviving pet chimpanzee accompanies them and after a long difficult journey through the jungle and desert, they arrive at the base of a mountain range behind which Riano informs them lies elephant country and his homeland. While climbing the dangerous peaks, Riano falls to his death, terrifying Jane. Under Holt's prodding, the Parkers proceed and find their way to a cave where the group is amazed to discover an enormous statue of a part animal and part human creature. Moments later, doors to the cavern entrance close, trapping the group inside. Left outside, the chimpanzee hastens back to the jungle to summon Tarzan, while the trapped explorers realize they are not in a cave but an oversize pit, dug by pygmy natives. The pygmies soon gather and light a fire in the pit, forcing the Parkers and Holt to climb up the enormous statue. The pygmies attempt to force their victims into the flames and to Jane's horror, her father falls and is burned alive. While crossing a river to reach Jane and Holt, Tarzan becomes embroiled in a fierce battle with a giant crocodile. Upon reaching the pygmy village Tarzan, with assistance from an elephant herd and his chimpanzee, destroys the village and rescues Jane and Holt. Tarzan then takes the pair astride an elephant to the other side of the mountain. The next morning, Jane laments that her recklessness has cost her everything she values. When the elephant, wounded by a poisonous pygmy arrow, wanders away to die, Holt and the others follow and are led through a waterfall to a beautiful jungle and the elephant "cemetery" of legend, filled with the bones of hundreds of dead elephants. Holt is ecstatic by the amount of ivory, but dismayed when Jane declares that she intends to bring Tarzan back to England to share their wealth. After Holt points out that Tarzan is likely to be corrupted by British high society, Jane realizes that Tarzan would be unhappy outside of his jungle paradise. Acknowledging that she would be unhappy apart from Tarzan, Jane receives Holt's approval to remain with Tarzan in the jungle.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 23 Oct 1959|
|Release Date:||1959||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Westrex Recording System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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Tarzan the Ape Man (1959)
Celia Trimboli 2010-05-17
Though not the best Tarzan film I remember this movie fondly as the one to get me interested in reading the Tarzan novels and seeing the other Tarzan...