African Visions


Films of Africa












The African Queen





Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley
Director: John Huston
Rated: NR RunTime: 103 Minutes Release Date: February 1952
Genres: Classic, Action, Romance, Drama
*Also starring:
Peter Bull, Theodore Bikel, Walter Gotell, Gerald Onn, Peter Swanwick, Richard Marner

The plot of the film, based on the novel by C.S. Forester, is set in German East Africa in September 1914. In a remote jungle village of Kundi, Reverend Samuel Sayer (played by Robert Morley) and his spinster sister Rose (played by Katherine Hepburn) are running Methodist mission. The only link to civilisation comes in the form of "African Queen", small river steamer that occasionally brings supplies and mail. Its owner and captain is Charlie Allnut (played by Humphrey Bogart), rough Canadian who would warn Sayers about the war that erupted in Europe.

When Allnut revisits he finds that the mission is in ruins after an attack by Askari troops and  Rose is now alone. He volunteers to bring her to safety but wants to wait for the end of war in his jungle hideout. Rose however has different plans and the crazy idea to use Allnut's supplies of explosive to sink large German gunboat standing in their way. Allnut reluctantly agrees with her and this is the beginning of the long and perilous journey.

THE AFRICAN QUEEN was hailed as masterpiece of its time, and often referenced as movie that finally brought well-deserved "Oscar" to Humphrey Bogart. The script uses the good old motive of "opposites attract"  - uptight, stiff-upper-lip British spinster and rough and insensitive Canadian riverboat captain - finding not only that they have more in common that they had to admit, but also finding romantic attractions towards each other.
Their journey itself is interesting, with many realistic problems and even more realistic solutions. But the realism of the film is severely undermined with melodramatic scenes in the latter part of the film, followed by even more melodramatic, unbelievable ?deus ex machina? ending. It is even more so with extremely dated special effects that fail to connect footage shot on locations in (then) Belgian Congo and British Uganda with characters obviously shot in London studios. Some of viewers who are sensitive about "political correctness" would frown upon not so favourable treatment of natives in this film.

The biggest problem with this film is, however, is its lack of historical accuracy. The film suggests that Germans in East Africa at the start of WW1 had the intention and resources to conquer the whole continent. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


German colonies were scattered and isolated fromthe mother country and manned by small garrisons with local commanders, such as General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, putting stiff resistance to Entente mostly using the hit and run strategy which lasted until the capitulation of the mother country in 1918. That earned him the reputation of one of the most successful guerrilla commanders in history, and that success is impossible to explain without at least some support from local natives. Askari forces in East Africa perhaps were as ?savage? as depicted in this film, but such savagery was probably common to their Entente counterparts and native Africans had no reason to favour one colonial master over another.

Despite its historical inaccuracies, bad special effects and script flaws, THE AFRICAN QUEEN may still be considered an entertaining film which is worth watching.

Indiana Jones : Phantom Train of Doom


Frederick Courtney Selous  ......... Paul Freeman
Colonel Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck ......... Tom Bell
Richard Meinertzhag ......... Julian Firth
Jan Christian Smuts ......... Norman Rodway
Director: Peter Macdonald  

Writer: Frank Darabont

An adventure film in which Indiana Jones and a group of elderly commandos take on a fiendishly powerful weapon in war-torn Africa.
Indy is ordered to locate and destroy a powerful German artillery gun that is mysteriously able to appear and disappear at will, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Assisting him is a colourful group of soldiers nicknamed "The Old and the Bold" because of their old age and reckless courage...
...Their mission takes them on a dangerous journey across the German East African veld via wagon train and hot air balloon. Overcoming all manner of obstacles presented by the enemy, his own side and the harsh African terrain, Indy relentlessly follows the trail of the mega-gun right into the bowels of a secret mountain hideout where he plans an explosive end for the phantom train of doom.



Hatari! (1962)


Directed by Howard Hawks

Plot Outline:

A group of men trap wild animals in Africa and sell them to zoos. Will the arrival of a female wildlife photographer change their ways ?

Complete credited cast:

John Wayne Sean Mercer
Hardy Krüger Kurt Mueller
Elsa Martinelli Anna Maria 'Dallas' D'Allesandro
Red Buttons Pockets
Gérard Blain Chips Chalmoy
Bruce Cabot (I) Little Wolf aka The Indian
Michčle Girardon Brandy de la Corte
Valentin de Vargas Luis Francisco Garcia
Lopez Eduard Franz Dr. Sanderson
Jon Chevron Joseph
Queenie Leonard Nurse Eric Rungren
Emmett Smith Bartender 
Real Life Hatari Trajedy
After Lionel's [Hartley] death, Diana took her two young children and stayed for a while with Carr Hartley's family at Rumuruti.

There she met one of Carr's employees, an Austrian named Heini Demmer.

Diana promptly went into an animal-trapping partnership with Demmer - to supply zoos - in direct competition with Carr Hartley, Diana's brother-in-law.

Later still, Diana Hartley married Eddie Knodi, a chef at Nairobi's Norfolk Hotel.

Violence continued to stalk the family. Diana's own mother, Mary, was hacked to death with machetes by thugs who attacked the family's Nyeri farmhouse during the Mau Mau Emergency.

Diana's seventy-year-old stepfather, G. A. Leakey, who was a blood brother of the Kikuyu tribe, was dragged off by the same gang and buried alive in October 1954.

Gray and Mary Leakey are now in the same grave at Nyeri cemetery.

Diana (Hartley) Knodi also died tragically. She was killed by a "tame" lion while working on the Hollywood epic about professional animal catchers, Hatari.

On November 1, 1960, Diana Knodi entered the lion's cage and it sprang on her. It bit her three times, on the chin, throat, and chest, then mauled her to death.

White hunter Bill Ryan, who was on the film set nearby with stars John Wayne, Hardy Kruger, Red Buttons, and the actress Capucine, commented, "Diana should never have got into the cage with that lion. She didn't have a chance."

Diana's only son, also named Lionel, began his professional hunting apprenticeship in 1970 with Brian Herne and Nick Swan. He was in the hunting business for seven years, until March 1977.


Where No Vultures Fly 1951


Directed by Harry Watt
Writing credits W.P. Lipscomb Leslie Norman

Tagline: An adventure story of savage Africa.

Anthony Steel Bob Payton
Dinah Sheridan Mary Payton
Harold Warrender Mannering
Meredith Edwards Gwyl
William Simons Tim Payton
Orlando Martins M'Kwongi
Jafeth Ananda Scarface
Phillip Birkinshaw District Commissioner
Andrew Cruickshank Governor Kenneth Augustus
Jeremy Watson
Johanna Kitau Kimolo
John Lawrence 2nd Hunter
Jack Arundel Mallett Chief Game Warden
Paul N'Gei Ondego
Wallace Needham-Clark Chief Veterinary Officer
David Osieli Kali
Bartholomew Sketch Scarface's Brother
Edmund Stewart 1st Hunter

Also Known As: Ivory Hunter (1951) (USA)
Directed by Harry Watt

Produced by Michael Balcon .... producer

Leslie Norman .... associate producer

Original music by Alan Rawsthorne

Cinematography by Paul Beeson (I) Geoffrey Unsworth

Film Editing by Jack Harris (I) Gordon Stone (III)

Production Management Edward Joseph .... production manager

Other crew Ernest Irving .... musical director

Based on the real-life memoirs of Mervyn Cowie, who had made a reputation as a conservationist. In the film Anthony Steel plays a Kenyan game warden - Bob Payton, who is distressed and revolted by the constant attrition of African fauna, and decides to set about establishing a national park in Kenya. Having taken over some thousand square miles of territory, he has to do battle with the ivory poachers and hostile tribes who have been enlisted in their support, before he realises his dream, a land 'where no vultures fly', the Mt. Kilimanjaro Game Preserve Park.



The Ghost and The Darkness


The two Tsavo lions who terrorised railway workers

Starring:        Val Kilmer
                        Michael Douglas
                        John Kani
                        Om Puri
                        Tom Wilkinson
                        Bernard Hill
                        Brian McCardie
                        Emily Mortimer
                        Henry Cele
                        Robert Brown
Director:       Stephen Hopkins
Producer:     Gale Anne Hurd
                        A Kitman Ho
                        Paul B Radin
Screenwriter:  William Goldman
Grapher:         Vilmos Zsigmond
Composer:      Jerry Goldsmith
Based on a true story, THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS takes place in Africa during the late 1890s and concerns two ferocious lions which killed 130 railroad construction workers in only two months.

A pair of courageous men, no-nonsense engineer John Patterson (Val Kilmer) and rugged hunter Charles Remington (Michael Douglas), set out to shoot the creatures, known as the Ghost and the Darkness.

Making their task even harder are the two animals un-lionlike behavior -- they kill in tandem, attack in the daylight, and show no fear of anything. Soon the hunters become the hunted....




Bwana Devil 1952


Robert Stack- Bob Hayward
Barbara Britton- Alice Hayward
Nigel Bruce- Dr. Angus Ross
Ramsey Hill- Maj. Parkhurst
Paul McVey- Commissioner
Hope Miller- Portuguese Girl
John Dodsworth- Drayton
Patrick O'Moore- Ballinger
Pat Aherne- Latham
Bhogwan Singh- Indian Headman
Bhupesh Guha- The Dancer
Bal Seirgakar- Indian Hunter Kalu
K. Sonkur- Karparim
Milas Clark- Mukosi
Director(s): Arch Oboler Writer(s): Arch Oboler Producer(s): Arch Oboler Cinematography: Joseph Biroc- 3-D-Natural Vision, Anscocolor Editing: John Hoffman Music Composer: Gordon Jenkins
Historically important as one of the first 3-D feature film- (the first was the 1922 film Power of Love).

Bwana Devil is an otherwise amateurish film, redeemed somewhat by good performances and a reasonably interesting script (by director Arch Oboler).

The thinnish story is built around some authentic African footage lensed by Oboler in 1948.

Based on fact, the plot concerns two ferocious lions, whose man-eating propensities halted progress on the building of an East African railroad.

Robert Stack, Nigel Bruce and Barbara Britton appear in the dramatized sequences, which look like they were filmed for an entirely different movie.

The main attraction of Bwana Devil, then and now, is its gimmicky 3-D photography, replete with thrown spears and leaping lions assaulting the camera.







Original Title : Afurika Monogatari
Alternative Titles: A Tale of Africa, The Green Horizon
English actor Philip Sayer (whose career seems to have peaked with the 1983 video nasty XTRO) crash-lands his plane in the middle of the Savannah and stumbles in search of food into the residence of James Stewart's grizzly old recluse and his daughter Maya.

Maya is obviously smitten by the new arrival, but tensions between him and the old man send Sayer scurrying away at dawn. In any measure, his absence has already been noted by the Nairobi cocktail set, who send out a search party in the form of elegant Eleanora Vallone, eager to return him to civilisation.
Director : Susumu HANI
Cast: James Stewart, Philip Sayer, Kathy, Eleonora Vallone




Born Free :

A Lioness of Two Worlds


Virginia McKenna - Joy Adamson
Bill Travers - George Adamson
Geoffrey Keen - Comm. Kendall
Peter Lukoye - Nuru
Omar Chambati - Makkede
Brian Epsom - Baker
Bill Godden - Sam
Robert Cheetham - Ken
Robert Young - James
CREW Director: James H. Hill

Producer: Carl Foreman , Paul B. Radin , Sam Jaffe
Writer: Gerald L.C. Copley
Based on the novel by:
Music By: John Barry
Born Free is the heart warming true story of a British couple who teach their pet lioness how to survive in the wilds of the African jungles.

Joy and George Adamson (portrayed by real-life married couple Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers) involuntarily domesticate several lions while living in Kenya.

They keep one, named Elsa, until she is fully grown, and rather than turn her over to a zoo, they decide to train her to live like a wild animal so that they can release her into her natural habitat.

Geoffrey Keen is a sympathetic government official who convinces the Adamsons that they should set Elsa free to avoid being ordered to place her in captivity.

The film, based on Joy Adamson's book, is poignant and emotional without ever becoming banal or overly sentimental.

The title song and film score both won Academy Awards.



Living Free :

The Story of Elsa and her Cubs



Aludin Quershi - Bank Clerk
Jean Hayes - Mrs. Herbert Baker
Nigel Davenport - George Adamson
Susan Hampshire - Joy Adamson
Geoffrey Keen - Kendall
Edward Judd - Game Warden Weaver
Charles Hayes - Herbert Baker
Elsa -
Nobby Noble - Bank manager
Peter Lukoye - Nuru
Robert Beaumont - Billy Collins
Shane de Louvre - Makedde
CREW Director: Jack C. Couffer Producer: Carl Foreman , Paul B. Radin Writer: Millard Kaufman Based on the novel by: Music By: Sol Kaplan

In this sequel to the international success Born Free, George and Joy Adamson (Nigel Davenport and Susan Hampshire) are a pair of married conservationists who years ago rescued a lion cub named Elsa and -- after raising her to adulthood as a pet -- were able to successfully return her to the wild.

Years later, the Adamsons discover that Elsa has died, leaving three cubs of her own to fend for themselves.

George and Joy once again take the young lions under their wing to see that they safely grow to maturity, but the Adamsons also face the challenge of reacclimating the three cats to their natural environment so that they can live in freedom, as nature intended.

Like its predecessor, Living Free was filmed on location in Kenya and features beautiful photography of the unspoiled African plains by Wolfgang Suschitzky and Jack C. Couffer (the latter also served as director).


Other Films about the Adamsons -


Forever Free : Elsa's Pride

The Spotted Sphinx (the story of Pippa).



To Walk With Lions (1999)

Stars: Richard Harris, John Michie, Kerry Fox, Ian Bannen

Other Stars: Hugh Quarshie, Honor Blackman, Geraldine Chaplin, Guy Williams, David Mulwa, Fred Opondo, Tonny Ernest Njuguna, Douglas O. Ayayo, Raymond Ofula, Edward Kwach, Tirus Gathwe

Director: Carle Shultz

In 1966, the film version of Born Free was released. While Joy set off on lecture tours following the success of her books and the film, George remained in Africa to tend to the lions, without any of the proceeds from her work.

For the next 25 years, he and his bother Terence (who hated lions but loved elephants) continued to rescue lions from zoos and circuses the world over, rehabilitating them to the wild on their wildlife reserve at Kora.

To Walk With Lions tells George's story, through the eyes of a young man who would take up his cause.



Randy Miller : Stunt Man

English drifter Tony Fitzjohn arrives in town, penniless, but lined up for a job as a safari driver.

When he learns the position is gone, he hitches a ride with Terence, who tells him of another opening, not mentioning the fact that the employee he would be replacing was killed by a lion.

Arriving at the Kora compound, Tony meets George, who he realizes is the same George Adamson (Played by Richard Harris) of Born Free fame.

Completely intimidated by the felines, Tony agrees to a week's work to raise money to return to England, but soon comes to appreciate what George and Terrence are doing, and stays on to help with the release program.

While outsiders applaud their efforts to support and rehabilitate the wild animal populations, locals are less enthusiastic about their presence.

The neighboring tribesmen want the lands of Kora for their cattle to graze, poachers are decimating the elephant and rhino population, and armed bandits are invading from the north, posing a lethal danger to the inhabitants.

To make matters worse, the level of corruption throughout the region meant that government officials and the rangers hired to protect the wildstock were being bought off by those looking to exploit the animal resources, leaving George, Terence and Tony to wage their own war with the poachers in an effort to save the creatures.

Along the way, Tony meets Lucy Jackson, an anthropologist working with the Somali tribesmen. She understands the native's wishes, but also comes to realize what George and Tony are doing is also important.

As bandits continue to make their way into the territory, the safety of both man and beast is at risk. As pressure to close the reserve comes from all sides, the Adamsons and their allies face a daunting future in the Kora compound, and without help, face a similar fate to those they are trying to protect.




Beautiful People

1975 Directed by Jamie Uys
TOPICS: Wildlife, Kalahari
In their own complex and mysterious world, far from the prying eyes of mankind, animals lead lives of humor and horror, danger and dignity.

The film as shot in the Namib Desert, the Skeleton Coast, Etosha Pan, Okavango Swamps and the Zambezi River Valley.

Humans appear in the form of traditional San in once sequence. They are shown mimicking the animals in gesture and sound.

The dust jacket states: "you'll recognize a surprising range of `human' traits and emotions in the lives of [Uys's] remarkable subjects."
CRITIQUE This feature length documentary is made in Jamie Uys's usual style of comedic narration, linked to a form of slapstick animal comedy.

Elephants get drunk, baboons cartwheel, and all variety of animals behave and misbehave.

The inclusion of some San characters who mimic the animals suggests a much softer image of this group than appeared in Dirkie, while their depiction as being part of `nature' portended their later characterization on the two Gods Must be Crazy films.



1969. 90 mins. Directed by Jamie Uys
TOPICS: Kalahari; San; Namibia
SYNOPSIS Dirkie, an eight year old city boy lost in the desert with his dog, is found unconscious by two Bushmen (San), who nurse him back to health. But Dirkie gets hysterical when he mistakes the meat they feed him as his dog. He runs away, throwing stones at them. They abandon him thinking that he is an evil spirit.
In Dirkie the desert is primeval, hot, endless and a place of death where only the most hardy creatures survive - snakes, scorpions, hyenas and Bushmen. The adult who finds him is stern, frightening and intractable. His son is kind and sympathetic and gives Dirkie water. The adult even initially refuses to tell the search party and Dirkie's father where he last saw Dirkie frantically following them. Having shown Dirkie's father the place where Dirkie was lying under the sand, the Bushman disappears. Dirkie and his father remain lost until a searching jeep finds them.
Adult whites are helpless in the desert. Dirkie's pianist father is a pathetic loner. The only woman in the film is the reporter who feels for him, but who he shuts out first as an opportunist looking for a `story'; and finally as just unimportant. No relationship is developed or even hinted at. He is the `dour boer'; she is the culturally excluded representative of the sensationalist newspaper world.
CRITIQUE The San pair are not criticized by Uys. They are the battered remnants of a hostile environment which thrust the possessed white boy upon them. They abandon him as easily as they found him. Uys commented later on his experiences of making The Gods Must be Crazy films where `Bushmen' share and are kind. But this is a harsh image which contradicts his later representations of the San.

Dirkie the desert is forbidding, Uys's later films (Beautiful people and The Gods Must be Crazy films replace this sandy malevolence and its killer inhabitants with kind animals and beautiful scenery. Where planes, radio, jeeps and the military were hot on the trail of Dirkie, now Uys makes fun of modern technology as the path to rescue.


The Gods must be Crazy


1980. Directed by Jamie Uys.
Produced by Mimosa Films.
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox
SYNOPSIS Social harmony in a remote Bushman (San) clan is disrupted by a Coke bottle which falls out of the sky, discarded by a passing pilot.

For Xi's clan, the Coke bottle is firstly, "one of the strangest and most beautiful things they have seen". Second, it becomes "a real labor saving device"; third, they learn that make music. Finally it is recognized as "the evil thing" which has brought dissension and competition between individuals within the clan.

For the source of the conflict to be removed, the bottle must be returned to the Gods.

In returning the bottle to the gods from where it came, Xi encounters the zoologist (Marius Weyers) studying elephant dung, his coloured helper, and a white woman who wants to teach in the bundu, away from the city rat-race.

Interlaced through this narrative are buffoonish black guerrillas intent on overthrowing the banana republic government; and ultimately, policemen, court and imprisonment for killing a goat.

The guerrillas take the teacher and her school children hostage. Xi rescues them by shooting the terrorists with the zoologist's animal tranquilizer applied to his arrows.
CRITIQUE The narrative is argued by Uys's US critics to perpetrate the racist core of the film:

Xi is inscribed a consciousness different from, and naturally subordinate to, the white characters. Xi neither understands whites, nor the nature of the threats impinging upon him. This relationship is reinforced by the ease with which the black guerrillas are disempowered by white `magic' painted by the zoologist onto the tip of Xi's arrows.

The San character's innocence encodes an even deeper racism as this condition, argue Uys's critics, makes Xi incapable of maturing out of this state to one of sophisticated intelligence.

The film is made in the form of a slapstick documentary, using pseudo-ethnographic narration, which lends it to a misreading that it deals with actual conditions. The film is a fiction.


Out of Africa


Starring: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Joseph Thiaka & Michael Gough

Directed by: Sydney Pollack
A film that chronicles the life of Danish-born writer Karen Blixen-Finecke.

Out of Africa is as much the story of colonial Kenya as it is of Blixen herself.

The film examines a time period that covers pre-First World War One Kenya, home to a wealth of colonists who came to Africa, established plantations and claimed the land as their own, to the years of growth and post-war expansion.

The passage of time is often represented simply where certain technology is introduced, motorcars and airplanes become commonplace, tourism becomes an industry, and Karen's plantation slowly grows from a dusty field to a lush business starved for a marketplace.

Life for Karen Blixen is far from easy: through her husband's infidelities, she contracts syphilis; the war causes a whole other set of problems; her plantation never becomes soluble; and she falls in love with a man who can never truly belong to her.

The love story between the two main characters, Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) becomes the main focus.



Zulu 1964

Stanley Baker James Booth James Booth Richard Burton Michael Caine Nigel Green Jack Hawkins Ulla Jacobsson Patrick Magee
Director: Cy Endfield
Screenwriter: Cy Endfield and John Prebble
The film is based on historical events, but is not entirely factual (see below). In 1879, 4,000 Zulus went on a rampage and massacred 1,300 British troops at Isandlwhana, then went on the warpath. The film centres around the efforts of the 24th Regiment of Foot of the South Wales Borderers to hold their position at a small outpost at Rourke's Drift. But what chance do 140 soldiers, only 97 of whom are `fit for duty' stand against the savage Zulus in their thousands?
Caught up in all this is Lieutenant John Chad (Stanley Baker), the outsider who only came to build a bridge at Rourke's Drift, but finds leadership thrust upon him when his entire regiment are wiped out in his absence. Also present is the young Lieutenant Granville Bromhead (Micheal Caine in his first major screen part), the aristocrat with no combat experience who has to learn the true meaning of honour, and its price.







Zulu Dawn

Burt Lancaster
Colonel Durnford
Peter O'Toole
Lord Chelmsford
John Mills
Sir Henry Bartle Frere
Christopher Cazenove
Lt. Coghill
Denholm Elliott
Lt. Colonel Pulleine
Nigel Davenport
Colonel Hamilton-Brown
Simon Ward
William Vereker
Bob Hoskins
C.S.M. Williams
Michael Jayston
Colonel Crealock
Freddie Jones
Bishop Colenso
Ronald Lacey
Norris Newman
Ronald Pickup
Lt. Harford
Peter Vaughan
QSM Bloomfield
Phil Daniels
Boy Soldier Pullen
Director: Douglas Hickox
Screenwriter: Anthony Storey, Cy Endfield
The supposed epic prequel to the film Zulu. Zulu Dawn purports to put the Zulu side of the story but still conforms to Battle Of Britain-style romantics.

Telling the story of the 1879 battle that was the worst defeat imperial Britain ever suffered, there's plenty of impressive cinematography. 

Made in 1979, from a script part-written by original director Cy Endfield, this is half starched company buffers (Peter O'Toole, John Mills, Denholm Elliott) mishandling diplomatic relations with the Zulus and one half exciting action epic as the red-coated officers (Simon Ward, Michael Jayston, Christopher Cazenove, Nicholas Clay) and men (Bob Hoskins, Peter Vaughan) in the field clash with Cetswayo's fearsome Zulu nation. Burt Lancaster reprises his grizzled scout role from Ulzana's Raid as the old bush hand who knows nothing good will come of this.
Douglas Hickox directs the people, but you can bet that all the good stuff was done by second-unit ace David Tomblin. A subject that's yet to be successfully tackled, the performance from Peter O'Toole as General lord Chelmsford is, however, a worthwhile triumph of manners over flies and sweat.




Jamie Uys
Ken Gampu, Stanley Baker, Juliet Prowse, Bob Courtney
Running Time:
1 hr 37 mins
Columbia TriStar Home Video
Summary: South African production about a black tribesman who seeks revenge against the men who killed his daughter. His quest leads him into the white courts where justice for the black man simply doesn't exist.


Congo (1995)

Starring: Dylan Walsh, Laura Linney Director: Frank Marshall
Synopsis: Explorers travel to a remote region of Africa to locate a stash of diamonds guarded by hostile primates. They take along Amy, an ape who can communicate with humans via a computer. Runtime: 109 minutes





The Naked Prey (1966)

Starring: Cornel Wilde, Gert van de Berg Director: Cornel Wilde
Synopsis: Offbeat, suspense-building action epic about African safari guide hunted by savage natives. Critics praised taut crafting, harrowing sequences. Drama fans who can handle violence will love this one too.

The story involves the capture of a party of white trophy hunters by a tribe of native Africans, who are gruesomely tortured to death one-by-one.

Cornel Wilde, whose clothes had been removed by the natives in preparation of his execution, succeeds in escaping (hence the title of the movie).

The rest of the film involves his fight for survival in the wilderness while being pursued by a group of native warriors. Runtime: 96 minutes




White Hunter, Black Heart (1990)


Starring: Clint Eastwood, Marisa Berenson Director: Clint Eastwood
Synopsis: Insightful, witty drama about hard-living, John Huston-styled director obsessed with hunting elephants while making "African Queen"-like film. Compelling, well-acted movie appeals to cinema history buffs, fans of perceptive character studies. Runtime: 112 minutes




King Solomon's Mines (1950)


Cast List
Deborah Kerr ... Elizabeth Curtis
Stewart Granger ... Allan Quatermain
Richard Carlson ... John Goode
Hugo Haas ... Van Brun aka Smith Lowell
Gilmore ... Eric Masters
District Commissioner Kimursi ... Khiva,
Chief Bearer in Red Fez Siriaque ... Umbopa,
Tall Prince-in-Exile Sekaryongo ... Chief Gagool,
Witch-like Guide to Diamond Mines
Baziga ... King Twala,
Usurper Gutare ... Kafa,
Umbopa's Old Uncle Ivargwema ... Blue Star
John Banner ... Austin, White Hunter
Benempinga ... Black Circle
Henry Rowland ... Traum, White Hunter (German)
Munto Anampio ... Chief Bilu
Director: Compton Bennett, Andrew Marton
This is a remake of the 1937 movie and was made again in 1985. Just as we all know that Moses looks like Charleston Heston, we also know that Allan Quatermain looks like Stewart Granger. The movie also has many other greats as Richard Carlson of "Creature from the Black Lagoon" fame.

Basic story is an adaptation from H. Rider Haggard, in which Elizabeth Curtis comes to Africa in search of her lost husband and eventually uses a large sum of money to recruit Allan Quatermain against his better judgment to lead the search. Naturally the two people even thought chaperoned have to resist nature taking its course.

Eventually picking up a stranger (Umbopa) going their way they run into danger from animals, natives, and unscrupulous people. The title gives away the reason that the husband (Curtis) was in Africa to begin with.

Will Curtis be found and what effect will it have on Allan and Elizabeth?





Cameraman: Harmon Cusack



The Last Safari 

Henry Hathaway, 1967


Kaz Garas
Stewart Granger
Miles Gilchrist
Gabriella Licudi
Johnny Sekka
Liam Redmond
Alec Beaumont
Eugene Deckers
Refugee Leader
David Munyua

John De Villiers
Wilfred Moore
Game Warden
Jean Parnell
Mrs. Beaumont
Bill Grant
John Sutton

Village Chief
Producer Henry Hathaway
Director Henry Hathaway
Writer John Gay(based on the novel Gilligan's Last Elephant by Gerald Hanley)
Tourist Garas plans a leisurely vacation on safari in Africa but changes those plans when he meets Granger, a troubled safari guide.

Garas learns that Granger blames himself, in part, for the death of a close friend. Refusing to work for Garas, Granger sets out to kill the elephant that took his friend's life, to overcome his guilt.

Garas follows, and together they locate the animal, but Granger cannot find the courage to fire. The elephant charges, and Garas refrains from shooting, realizing that it must be Granger who does the deed.

Granger finally finds the necessary bravery and, with his finger on the trigger, decides not to kill the elephant--the rediscovery of his courage enough for him.




George of the Jungle


The Main Cast of Voices
George................................... BRENDAN FRASER
Ursula Stanhope.......................... LESLIE MANN
Lyle Van de Groot........................ THOMAS HADEN CHURCH
Kwame.................................... RICHARD ROUNDTREE
Max...................................... GREG CRUTTWELL
Thor..................................... ABRAHAM BENRUBI
Beatrice Stanhope........................ HOLLAND TAYLOR
Betsy.................................... KELLY MILLER
Arthur Stanhope.......................... JOHN BENNETT PERRY
Voice of Ape............................. JOHN CLEESE
In this fun-filled tale of valiant rescues, amorous love with a beautiful career woman, Ursula (LESLIE MANN), and the opportunity to move to the city and live as a civilized human with all the comforts of modern-day life.

George (BRENDAN FRASER) is ultimately compelled to return to his jungle habitat to fight off nefarious poachers, defend his friends the wise Ape, the Tookie Tookie bird and his trusty elephant Shep.

In the end, with Ursula by his side, George finds that love conquers all as he regains his rightful position on the throne as King of the Jungle.




Nowhere in Africa

A Zeitgeist Films Release

Director Caroline Link Writer Caroline Link, based on the novel by Stephanie Zweig Stars Juliane Kohler, Merab Ninidze, Lea Kurka, Karoline Eckertz, Sidede Onyulo, Matthias Habich Certificate 15 Running time 140 minutes Country Germany Year 2001

Adapted from Stephanie Zweig's novel, the tale tells of a Jewish family's escape from Nazi Germany to Kenya.

Set before, during and after World War 2, the story is luminously narrated by the grown-up daughter Regina Redlich (Lea Kurka and Karoline Eckertz). Walter Redlich (Merab Ninidze) is a lawyer unable to continue his work under the Nazi regime.

Fleeing without material possession, he arrives in Kenya to work on a farm. Suffering from Malaria he is nursed by his Masai cook, Owuor, convincingly portrayed by native Kenyan actor, Sidede Onyulo.

Soon his wife Jettel (Julianne Kohler) and daughter arrive, and are forced into a major u-turn in lifestyle.

Cultural adaptation proves far easier for young precocious Regina than for Jettel. Building up a strong and loving rapport with Owuor, she intelligently absorbs the language and cultural idioms of the Masai people.




I Dreamed of Africa


Cast: Kim Basinger (Kuki Gallman), Vincent Perez (Paolo Gallman), Eve Marie Saint (Franca), Daniel Craig (Declan Fielding), Lance Reddick (Simon), Robert Loggia
This epic true story tells the tale of a woman's struggle to tame her new family and the wilds of Africa.

Kim Basinger plays Kuki Gallman, a single mother who marries a close friend (Vincent Perez) who has dreams of running a cattle ranch in Kenya.

Moving her new family to Africa, Kuki begins her journey, but the move is only half the battle, as she has to face lions, torrential winds, the culture of Kenya and even a loss that will change her forever.


Africa on Film


The strength of this excellent book is that the author offers neither moral nor political judgments on an evocative story of how a white child grew to manhood in Africa and found himself fighting a losing war for the country he loved." THE TIMES PRODUCTION NOTES
Genre: Drama Length: 90 minutes Format: 35mm Producers: Tara Whiting (Kudu Films) & Dan Jawitz (ICE Media) Director: t.b.c Writers: Peter Godwin Co-Writer: tbc Development Budget: US$ 120, 000 Status: Script is currently in the early stages of development. The producers are currently seeking development finance and co-production partners.

Peter Godwin's childhood is idyllic. The African Bush is his playground. His closest friends are the black workers on his father's estate who delight in initiating this white boy into a love of natural history, local customs and mythology.
But the joy and the freedoms of Peter's childhood are about to be shattered-forever.

For this is Rhodesia, the year is 1964. lan Smith's government is fighting to retain control of an all-white Government. Gangs of freedom-fighters are springing up all over the nation. In the eyes of the Government these rebels are terrorists. And to many ordinary people-black and white- their methods of terrorizing locals into providing support for their cause definitely warrants this title.
When the local Crocodile Gang kills a neighbouring white farmer, Peter is horrified - not least because the murder weapon may belong to his dearest adult friend. Broken-hearted, he's sent away to boarding school - for his own safety.
Cocooned away from the growing political and military tensions, Peter graduates. He decides to put on hold a Scholarship to Oxford University, and fulfil his commitment to National Service. As his father argues, Peter will just be 'holding the line while a peaceful settlement is hammered out'. With the promise of majority rule imminent, there's no way for Peter to argue against this point - or his own father.
Barely 18 years old, Peter finds himself in charge of 120 black soldiers in an anti-terrorist unit. Here he is face to face with the reality of a nation struggling to be born out of conflict. Terrorist groups war with each other and the local villagers are pawns in everybody's game. Peter struggles to do his best for the locals but his progress is shattered by the brutal tactics of the thuggish Rhodesian Light Infantry. And when his own beloved sister is killed on her wedding day, Peter is taken to the brink of a terrible revenge...
This is the darkness before the dawn of a new era. Robert Mugabe - leader of one of the biggest 'terrorist/ freedom fighting" factions - becomes President. A "better tomorrow" has finally arrived, and Peter re-embraces his love for the country by becoming a natural history photographer and writer.
But the legacy of war has one final - and terrible - chapter to play out.
One of the terrorists Peter arrested during National Service has incredible news Mugabe's elite 5th Army Brigade is on a murdering spree in Matabeleland. Officially a ''mopping-up" operation to collect weapons used in the struggle, the 5th Army have instructions to wipe-out as locals who had any connection with Mugabe's "rival" freedom-fighters. In reality this is turning into indiscriminate tribal genocide.
Peter is incredulous. His contacts in the new Government find the rumours ridiculous. Peter's father urges him not to get involved. Peter's done his share - more than his share - already. It's not his problem. But this time - Peter does stand up to his father. He must find out the truth. Even if it costs the Godwin family a second child?
So Peter, disguised as a Priest, goes undercover into the very heart of the Matabeleland curfew zone. There he not only discovers the horrific massacres taking place - he himself becomes the 5th Army's number one target. With a platoon of 5th Army soldiers on his trail, Peter goes on the run - through the bush. Refusing to even try to escape until he's found the rumoured death camp, Peter at last discovers the terrible evidence of tribal massacres, by falling into a disused mine and onto a mountain of dead bodies...
With the help of a black-orphaned boy - whose own father has been murdered for political opposition to Mugabe, Peter now has one final task... To get the evidence out to the world.
In a climatic encounter with a 5th brigade Army Soldier - Peter is face to face with the realisation that his life is over. The bush skills he leant as a child - and the Army - can no longer save his own life. He has no option other than to accept his fate. But an extraordinary choice by the man, who could be his executioner, provides Peter and a nation - a way of transcending these horrors.
Peter escapes to bring the evidence of the Matabeleland Massacres to the world's press. As a result of these revelations, Mugabe ceases the tribal genocide. But Peter pays the price of having to flee the country that is his beloved home. The first-ever embrace from his proud father provides him with the courage to walk away.

© Ice Media 2001





I saw a few films in Zambia, but I can't remember which ones ... what I do remember is that before the start of the movie, it was required by Law that the National Anthem be played ... it was also required by Law that everyone had to STAND while it was being played! 


On the whole Guillios, the local cinema in Manzini-Swaziland, wasn't a bad little cinema. It was split-level and the upper level was tiered. The films favoured by the local Swazi population were the gun-slinging westerns and heroic "James Bond" style action thrillers. They loved them! They used to loudly applause the good guys and cheer on the hero of the film! As kids we used to go to the Saturday matinees and then to the evening shows as teenagers.
Because Swaziland was fairly relaxed, and the censorship board in South Africa so strict, we used to get a lot of "banned" movies. Any movie whose hero starred a black actor was banned in South Africa ... Tick, Tick, Tick about a black police-sheriff was one, as were all Sidney Poiter movies. Anything that was slightly lewd or violent, such as Caligula, The Exorcist, and Clockwork Orange were banned. But Swaziland got them all. The South Africans used to come over for weekends and would revel in the delights of the casinos and the cinemas. 

Two of the most frightening films of the 1970s for me were - Jaws, which I saw in Durban on wide-screen cinema-surround and thereafter never went into the sea again, and The Exorcist which gave me the horrors for a week. Jaws still slightly unnerves me but after seeing more uptodate horror movies The Exorcist is tame in comparison. When my kids saw this movie they couldn't believe that it had once frightened me! but then again my kids don't think there is anything "horrorful" about Chucky either!







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