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C. Aubrey Smith
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Technically well made but its message about colonialism is no doubt disconcerting when seen today.
I am rather surprised that a man of Paul Robeson's convictions would agree to star in this film. That's because this British production STRONGLY reinforces that colonialism is good as well as the paternalistic view of black Africans. In other words, the people of Africa, according to the film, are too violent and dumb to rule themselves. And, when the British aren't there, the folks quickly regenerate to tribal warfare. While there is some truth to the stabilizing influence of the British, this film seems to say that the ends DOES justify the means. So, taking over the nations and running them is okay according to the movie. And, considering how strongly Robeson fought for racial equality, it is odd indeed that he'd been in a film like this--and play a part of a character that completely buys into this system.
Apart from the message reinforcing the status quo, is the film worth seeing? Well, yes. Technically it looks really good--far better than most African films of the era (which often showed irrelevant stock footage at every turn) and it was nice to hear Robeson's melodious voice. And, it is entertaining.
By the way, Robeson's name in the film was Bosambo! With this and the plot, you can see why he disowned the film when it debuted!
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