Tarzans Greatest Adventure 1959


This film was shown on BBC2 last weekend.  It turned out to be one of the best of the many Tarzan movies ever made – maybe Gordon Scott was not the best Tarzan – but the film stands up really well with a great villain in the shape of Anthony Quayle. It was filmed in Africa in colour – I don’t remember any of the previous ones being Technicolor but this was.

It is very fitting that this post is published  because Tarzan is offically 100 years old this month – first launched in comic form all those years ago


 Gordon Scott above as Tarzan


Anthony Quayle gets a great part here and gives Tarzan – and others – a very rough time !!!

Anthony Quayle.

I do remember that he was married to Dorothy Hyson who played opposite George Formby in Spare a Copper.  He was a classical actor and very good too although he tended to play straight roles more often than not – probably because he had a serious face. I certainly don’t ever remember him doing comedy. Can’t quite imagine that somehow. He was a Shakespearean actor of some note.

Sean Connery comes to a sticky end in a film made just before  he made his debut as James Bond in Dr.No

Sean Connery was apparently  paid 5600 dollars  for this role and  is surprisingly good as the wicked O’Bannion  which turns out to be quite a  sizeable role.   He was evidently impressive enough in the part for Sy Weintraub to ask him back to play a different role in the next Tarzan movie – however  Sean said that ‘Two fellows took an option on me for some spy picture and are exercising it. But I’ll be in your next,’ he promised.    The film was of course Dr.No and the rest is history.

Filmed on location in Africa, this Tarzan epic is  considered by many critics to be the best with Gordon Scott playing the character in keeping with author Edgar Rice-Burroughs creation.

We didn’t have a Jane in this story however Sara Shane played an adventurous heroine named Angie whose plane crashes into the jungle where she luckily immediately joins up with Tarzan – rather than the crocodile waiting – Tarzan of course wrestled with the croc  in the water.

Sara Shane

Elaine Hollingsworth – her real name –  became a model at age 14 and later secured a film contract with  MGM. She was featured in a few musicals using her real name  then in 1953  began using the name Sara Shane.

Sara Shane looking very good in this Tarzan film – in fact her very last film.

She then acquired a seven year contract with Universal International pictures but that didn’t go the distance for whatever reason. In  1955 she appeared with  in the Clark Gable Film The King and Four Queens – interestingly the one and only film produced by Clark Gable – which was a western but it can’t have done much good at the Box Office. I had never heard of this one.

Above Clark Gable with Sara Shane

Her last film in fact was this Tarzan picture and it is considered to be her most memorable performance. She continued in television to  1964.      Elaine married William Hollingsworth in 1949 but  they were divorced in 1957.

Sara left the Hollywood and retired from TV and films in her late 30s. She turned to writing and began to devote herself to the study of pharmaceuticals. She wrote two books-  the first one a work of fiction and the second a book promoting healthy living.  She eventually moved to Australia to avoid the Los Angeles pollution and  still lives happily – and healthily – on her 5 acres of land. She is now in her eighties.

Gordon Scott

 The man who played Tarzan in 1950s movies died at the age of 80 in 2007

He made 24 movies including “Tarzan and the Lost Safari” (1957), “Tarzan’s Fight for Life” (1958), “Tarzan and the Trappers” (1958), “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure” (1959) and “Tarzan the Magnificent” (1960).

Scott was a lifeguard at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas when he was discovered by Hollywood producer Sol Lesser and he was signed to a seven-year-contract after he outperformed his rivals at the audition.

During the 1955 production of his first film, “Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle,” he fell in love with co-star Vera Miles. The couple married that year but divorced a few years later. Vera Miles was married three times – the second of which was to Gordon Scott – but all three marriages ended in divorce – however, sadly and coincidentally, all three of her ex husbands died with a few months of each other.

Vera did have a very long and full career in films which we will definitely return to because a year after this one she appeared in one of the greatest westerns of the decade and of all time – The Searchers.

 Above – Gordon Scott with Vera Miles and Cheetah

After the Tarzan movies Gordon Scott appeared in Westerns and gladiator films.





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