Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959 film)

Tarzan, the Ape Man is a 1959 Technicolor action adventure film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring Denny Miller as Tarzan, Joanna Barnes as Jane, Cesare Danova, and Robert Douglas. The film is loosely based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel Tarzan of the Apes, and is a remake of the classic 1932 film of the same name. The film was directed by Joseph M. Newman, and the score was composed by jazz musician Shorty Rogers. MGM would release another remake of the film in 1981.

Tarzan, the Ape Man
Theatrical poster
Directed byJoseph M. Newman
Produced byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Written byEdgar Rice Burroughs (character)
Screenplay byRobert Hill
StarringDenny Miller
Cesare Danova
Joanna Barnes
Robert Douglas
Narrated byRobert Douglas
Music byShorty Rogers
CinematographyPaul C. Vogel
Edited byGene Ruggiero
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • 1959 (1959)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,710,000[1]

MGM reused a fair amount of footage from their 1932 version rather than reshooting, including scenes of Tarzan swinging on vines and the elephants' destruction of a pygmy village. A scene of Tarzan fighting a crocodile was reused from Tarzan and His Mate, the sequel to the 1932 film. Other footage was reused from King Solomon's Mines. Tarzan's distinctive call was also taken from the original version. The "African" elephants in some scenes are clearly Indian ones with some sort of canvas "ears" added, and with the characteristic double humps on the forehead all too obvious.

The "jungle" vegetation, from three different continents, an extremely phoney looking rubber mask used for close ups of a roaring leopard and the clumsy back-projection in the "underwater" scenes make it a treat for lovers of the ludicrous.


The plot of the film reprises that of the 1932 version, with James Parker (Douglas) Harry Holt (Danova) and Parker's daughter Jane (Barnes) on an expedition in Africa in which they encounter Tarzan, a wild man raised by apes. Various adventures ensue.



The film was made at the same time as another Tarzan film, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure produced by Sy Weintraub. MGM had kept the remake rights to the 1932 Tarzan the Ape Man, enabling them to make this film. The rights to the bulk of the Tarzan stories were owned by Weintraub.[2]

Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $660,000 in the US and Canada and $1,050,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $92,000.[1]

Musical score and soundtrack

Shorty Rogers Meets Tarzan
Soundtrack album by
RecordedNovember 1959
Hollywood, California
GenreFilm score
E/SE 3798
ProducerJesse Kaye
Shorty Rogers chronology
The Wizard of Oz and Other Harold Arlen Songs
Shorty Rogers Meets Tarzan
The Swingin' Nutcracker

The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by Shorty Rogers and the soundtrack album was released on the MGM label in 1960 as Shorty Rogers Meets Tarzan.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores

The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow says "Although there are many short solos, the emphasis is on the dense and frequently exciting ensembles. The music, which is heard here in full-length form (unlike in the movie, where it is often buried behind the action), sounds quite self-sufficient apart from the action".[4]

Track listing

All compositions by Shorty Rogers

  1. "The Elephant Walk" - 3:25
  2. "Les Barbaros" - 1:40
  3. "Paradise Found" - 3:05
  4. "Trapped" - 1:55
  5. "Los Pronitivos" - 2:14
  6. "Oomgawa" - 3:15
  7. "Tarzanic Suite" - 17:34



  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. By, T. M. (1959, Mar 29). HOLLYWOOD DOSSIER. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/114910251
  3. MGM Album Discography Part 5: E-3601 to E-3800 (1957-1960) accessed October 3, 2016
  4. Yanow, Scott. Shorty Rogers Meets Tarzan – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.