Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959)

Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959)

“Death is never a pretty sight — and you’ll see it again before the hunt is over.”

Accompanied by a local pilot (Eve Brent), Tarzan (Gordon Scott) pursues a group of four British criminals — Slade (Anthony Quayle), O’Bannion (Sean Connery), Kruger (Niall MacGinnis), and Dino (Al Mulock) — who, with support from Slade’s girlfriend (Scilla Gabel), have stolen explosives in order to raid a diamond mine.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Africa
  • Anthony Quayle Films
  • Cat-and-Mouse
  • Jungles
  • Niall MacGinnis Films
  • Sean Connery Films
  • Tarzan Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that while he’s “partial to the Johnny Weissmuller-Maureen O’Sullivan films”, this “colorful, action-packed adventure picture” — “produced on a fair-sized budget”, “filmed in CinemaScope, and made on location in Kenya by a talented British crew” — is “usually regarded as the best of the entire Tarzan series”. He notes that “Gordon Scott, who had played the jungle hero in several low-budgeted, studio-shot films in the early and mid-fifties, returned as the more introspective, human, mature… , and articulate Tarzan than he had played before”:

… and adds that “the villains he confronts aren’t cartoon characters, but complex men with singular motivations for committing crimes”.

While I haven’t see any Tarzan films outside of those listed in GFTFF, I’m in agreement that this is surely among the best. We get authentically caught up in the drama, which features realistic (and scary) settings, plenty of tension, well-filmed action scenes, and memorable supporting roles (including Connery as a naughty villain).

We’re never sure what will happen next, who will die next (or how), and — in particular — what will conspire between scar-faced Quayle and McGinnis (playing a greedy, cunning, bespectacled German completely obsessed with diamonds). While I’m not a fan of Shane’s sexually aggressive American pilot:

… she shows impressive growth throughout the film and “deserves” her ultimate dalliance with Tarzan. This one remains well worth a look — as does its follow-up, Tarzan the Magnificent (1960).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Anthony Quayle as Slade
  • Niall MacGinnis as Kruger
  • Fine location shooting
  • Many well-filmed, exciting scenes

Must See?
Yes, as a fine example of what the Tarzan films were able to transform into in later years.


  • Good Show


One thought on “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see but it should be nicely appreciated by Tarzan fans.

    Things starts off confidently with an intriguing and somewhat disorienting opening segment; it sets the pace for what follows. The film’s biggest asset (aside, of course, from the terrific Scott) is a carefully constructed plot that hinges on strategically placed action sequences (including a process of elimination).

    The film’s title is sort of a meaningless exaggeration – still, it’s a sufficiently captivating tale… and what would be a more suitable title: ‘Tarzan Goes After More Bad Guys’?

    The final, well-staged / edited ‘match’ is a proper climax ; Tarzan earns his concluding Tarzan yell!

Leave a Reply