Joe D’Amato’s “Tarzan X — Shame Of Jane”

Filmofile
5 min readNov 29, 2023

Joe D’Amato has made more than 200 films. That’s a lot, even for a porn director, but Joe isn’t just a porn director. He’s made films in every genre. They happen to all be awful, but there are an impressive amount of them. Sometimes when you are finished using your toilet, you can’t help but be impressed by your output. I’m sure Joe feels the same way about his filmography.

He’s made pornographic versions of Othello and The Taming of The Shrew. He was a producer on Troll 2, but he was also the assistant cameraman on Godard’s Contempt. Maybe that’s why the camera lingers so long on Brigitte Bardot’s butt.

He is a man of many talents, and he seems to have a different pseudonym for each one. His real name is Aristide Massaccesi, but he also goes by Arizona Massachusset, Federiko Slonisko, Michael Wotruba, David Hills, Dirk Frey, Robert Hall, O.J. Clarke, Gilbert Damiano, Peter Newton, Richard Haller, Kevin Mancuso, Dario Donati, Joan Russell, Romano Gastaldi, Oskar Faradine, Anna Bergman, Alexandre Borsky, and Raf Donato. Then, there is the Asian section: Robert Yip, Lim Seng Yee, Boy Tan Bien, Chang Lee Sun, Fu Shen, Hsu Hsien, and Leslie Wong.

He made Tarzan X — Shame Of Jane in 1994 with the help of Luca Damiano, another prodigious purveyor of smut. The film stars Rocco Siffredi in the titular role. Jane is played by Rocco’s wife Rózsa Tassi, who also goes by Rosa Caracciolo.

Rocco has starred in more than 1,300 porn films. If he averages about 4 orgasms per film, that’s almost 5,200 money shots. That’s a lot of… ahem, money. I watched a 2016 documentary about Rocco, appropriately titled Rocco. The guy is an asshole. From what I can tell, he is a pathological narcissist or, to be fair, he may just be severely dehydrated. Either way, he has a big penis, a prominent jawline, and washboard abs, so he’s good to go.

D’Amato uses the name Tarzan in the title of the film, but no one ever says the name in the movie. Instead, Rocco’s character is named Ape-Man, as in when Jane says, “I owe this happiness to a strange and extraordinary guy, Ape Man” and Ape Man responds, “And you make Ape Man happy, too.”

I’m not sure what the copyright situation was. D’Amato did manage to steal the original recording of the Tarzan call from the 1932 film Tarzan The Ape Man.

The original Tarzan And His Mate was made before the Hays code was instituted, which allowed it to feature some nudity, including a famous scene when Tarzan and Jane go skinny dipping. D’Amato’s film is made after the Hays code, and features Tarzan and Jane doing just about everything that can be done with two human bodies and some determination.

D’Amato’s 1994 Jane is insatiable. She won’t leave her jungle man alone for a minute. To be fair he seems to be quite good at what he does, but their sex scenes are not very erotic. D’Amato has the actors twisted and turned into what looks like some pretty uncomfortable positions. In addition, all of the many sex scenes between Jane and Ape Man are intercut with frequent shots of monkeys watching them from the trees.

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Of course, there is the obligatory kidnapping scenario, where African tribesmen grab Jane, tie her up, and dance around her in circles. Nothing problematic about that. Tarzan slaughters a few of them and carries Jane back into the jungle. The chief of the tribe leads some warriors in pursuit, but our star-crossed lovers hide behind a tree. Still breathless from the chase, Jane starts in again pawing at her Ape Man.

Eventually, Jane brings Ape Man back to the villa where she and her other aristocratic adventurers are staying. Jane’s boyfriend George is not too happy to see the looks that Ape Man and Jane exchange. Jane tries to pretend that there isn’t anything between her and her jungle lover, and so turns poor Ape Man away from her bedroom door. Feeling rejected, he proceeds to have sex with all the ladies in the villa.

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This is where Tarzan X starts getting a little political. We have some class conflict brewing, where the well-mannered ladies of the aristocracy cannot resist the animal magnetism of their savage guest. Of course, D’Amato doesn’t really explore the topic, he just needs a whole lotta sex scenes. Eventually, Jane has to make a choice and opts for the socially acceptable George, and Ape Man goes back to live in the stock footage of Africa, where he belongs.This is where Tarzan X starts getting a little political. We have some class conflict brewing, where the well mannered ladies of the aristocracy can not resist the animal magnetism of their savage guest. Of course D’Amato doesn’t really explore the topic, he just needs a whole lotta sex scenes. Eventually Jane has to make a choice and opts for the socially acceptable George, and Ape Man goes back to live in the stock footage of Africa where he belongs.

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Filmofile

I have an MFA in painting and I’m an art professor but I managed to convince my school to let me teach film. My website http://www.filmofileshideout.com/