Review: ‘Tarzan – The Ape Man’

This endless romp through the jungle, lacking any focus, fun or excitement (sexual or otherwise), seems to exist merely as a reason for husband John to find another 1001 ways to photograph wife Bo in varying stages of undress.

This endless romp through the jungle, lacking any focus, fun or excitement (sexual or otherwise), seems to exist merely as a reason for husband John to find another 1001 ways to photograph wife Bo in varying stages of undress.

With about three minutes shaved as a result of a court decision stating that the Dereks and M-G-M went beyond the remake rights bought from the Burroughs estate, this opus will disappoint both Tarzan fans and Bo admirers.

A supposed remake of the 1932 Tarzan the Ape Man, the Derek version has less to do with the jungle man (who doesn’t show his face until halfway through the picture) than it does in dealing with Jane’s (Bo’s) rediscovery of her long-lost explorer father Richard Harris.

The father-daughter relationship doesn’t have a chance here with Bo’s wooden recitation of her lines and Harris’ ranting through any number of dreary, confusing speeches.

Although John Derek’s direction remains loose and uninspired (the few action shots of Tarzan are ruined with corny slow motion footage), he does know how to shoot pretty pictures of Sri Lanka and, more particularly, Bo. If Tarzan were a magazine layout, he’d probably be nominated for something.

Tarzan - The Ape Man

Production

M-G-M/Svengali. Director John Derek; Producer Bo Derek; Screenplay Tom Rowe, Gary Goddard; Camera John Derek, Wolfgang Dickmann; Editor James B. Ling; Music Perry Botkin; Art Director Alan Roderick-Jones

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Bo Derek Richard Harris John Phillip Law Miles O'Keeffe Wilfrid Hyde White
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