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Tarzan the Ape Man
Tarzan, Herr des Urwalds

USA 1981
produced by
Bo Derek for Svengali Productions, MGM
directed by John Derek
starring Bo Derek, Richard Harris, John Phillip Law, Miles O'Keeffe, Akushula Selayah, Steve Strong, Maxime Philoe, Leonard Bailey, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Laurie Main, Harold Ayer
screenplay by Tom Rowe, Gary Goddard, based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, music by Perry Botkin jr, stunt coordinator: Jock Mahoney


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Jane Parker (Bo Derek) joins her father James (Richard Harris) and his photographer Harry Holt (John Phillip Law) on an expedition to deepest Africa, to find the escarpment, the inland sea and the graveyard of elephants - but abova all, after a few scenes of skinny dipping, she finds Tarzan (Miles O'Keeffe), and after him rescuing her from a boa constrictor and a lion, he takes her with him and the two fall in love, while her dad is worried sick. Eventually, she returns to her dad and company, and almost immediately, they are captured by a native tribe, who paint a topless Jane white (those monsters) and stab her daddy with a piece of ivory ... but then Tarzan comes by, kills their chieftain - after which the natives just disappear from the film -, and he and Jane and a horny orang-utan live happily ever after.


What was MGM thinking when they handed the Tarzan-property over to John and Bo Derek? I mean, this film is really bad, more of a celebration of Bo's boobs than anything else (though to be fair, she has lovely boobs), while her performance is godawful. Still, she's the center of the movie, and director John Derek wastes little time focussing on the plot's inherent adventure aspects (and he is horrible at directing action) or on its exotic locale. Even the few jungle animals involved lose out to Mrs Derek's charms ... er, boobs. And Tarzan? He has very little screentime and is reduced to supporting status in his own film - which is just as well though, since Miles O'Keeffe isn't much of an actor.

All that said, there is still plenty to enjoy in Tarzan the Ape Man (if for all the wrong reasons) if you see the film as a piece of comedy: Take Richard Harris' outrageous overacting perfectly outbalancing Bo Derek's understatement (or should we say underachievement), take a scene of Jane musing that she and Tarzan are both virgins, made all the funnier by Tarzan's monkey friend populating the background, take the natives who have never been exposed to the outside world yet have cogwheels in their village, take Jane and Tarzan's fight against the boa constrictor that was obviously inspired by Bela Lugosi's legendary fight against a giant octopus in Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster, take Jane's complaints about being painted white by the natives (those bastards!), take the scene with the beach lion, or take the final scenes in which Tarzan and his horny orang utan friend fight over topless Jane ... all that and much more turns this film into a laugh riot, a perfect party film, almost a must-see - unless of course you are a serious Tarzan-fan or find it despicable to laugh at something and not with it.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD