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Sanders of the River (1935)

 -  Adventure | Drama  -  26 June 1935 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 343 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 9 critic

British District Officer in Nigeria in the 1930's rules his area strictly but justly, and struggles with gun-runners and slavers with the aid of a loyal native chief.

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(adaptation), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Title: Sanders of the River (1935)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Leslie Banks ...
...
Lilongo
Robert Cochran ...
Lieutenant Tibbets (as Robert Cochrane)
Martin Walker ...
J. Ferguson
Richard Grey ...
Tony Wane ...
King Mofolaba
Marqués De Portago ...
Farini (as Marquis De Portago)
Eric Maturin ...
Smith
Allan Jeayes ...
Father O'Leary
Charles Carson ...
Governor of the Territory
Luao ...
Chief of the Wagenia [Congo] Tribe
Kilongalonga ...
Chief of the Wagenia [Congo] Tribe
Oboja ...
Chief of the Acholi Tribe
Members of Acholi Tribe ...
Themselves (as Members of the Acholi Tribe)
Edit

Storyline

British District Officer in Nigeria in the 1930's rules his area strictly but justly, and struggles with gun-runners and slavers with the aid of a loyal native chief. Written by Michael Crew <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 June 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bosambo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Robeson disowned this picture, telling journalists that it was the only one of his films to have been screened in Italy and Germany. However, his claim to have walked out of the premiere in disgust was a re-invention of history. See more »

Goofs

Although the film is nominally set in Nigeria (as shown on the map in Sanders' office), the aerial wildlife shots seem to have been taken in East Africa (e.g. Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika). Given the presence of Jomo Kenyatta as an extra in the cast, it is likely that the African scenes were shot on the eastern coast of Africa rather than in Nigeria. See more »

Connections

Featured in That's Black Entertainment (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Lion Song
Music by Mischa Spoliansky
Lyrics by Arthur Wimperis
Sung by Paul Robeson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mixed Review for a Flawed Film
25 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This British release from 1935 gets a mixed review from me.

On one hand, it is wonderful to see Paul Roberson in a film role, but that enjoyment is tainted somewhat by the way the film portrays native Africans. Sanders is the white man in charge of the district. He treats all of the tribal chiefs and their subjects as if they were his black "children". This theme is repeated so frequently in the film that it seems the filmmakers were--rather defensively--trying to make a point. On the other hand, such arrogant hogwash is routinely part of colonialism wherever it is manifest, so the film's depiction of such racism is accurate.

In my opinion, the best part of the film are the many shots of native life, especially native dances and rituals. We also see various African animals in their natural habitats, even if they are sometimes being stampeded by low-flying aircraft.

The plot of this film was not very engaging. But it is worth noting that the real villains of the film are two white men who wish to stir up the tribes by giving them gin and rifles--apparently just because their only goal in life is to stir up trouble.

The African chiefs and kings seem too Anglicized, and Robeson sings some songs that feel out of place in the mouth of a chief. But I found enjoyment in pieces of this film, if not in the whole.


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