KILLERS OF KILIMANJARO (Richard Thorpe, 1959) **1/2
This British-made safari adventure is yet another outing from Warwick Films (which would eventually evolve into Eon Productions with the James Bond series); although the title itself is meaningless, the plot awfully thin and the budget evidently restrained, the end results are quite pleasant and handsome to look at (despite the panning-and-scanning from the original 'Scope ratio). American Robert Taylor fills in the required "fading Hollywood star" spot for added marquee' value, while fetching redhead Anne Aubrey and amiably clumsy Anthony Newley both reunited from the same team's THE BANDIT OF ZHOBE (1959; a screening of which, coincidentally, also came about for me on the same day I acquired this one!) are the proverbial young up-and-coming stars. While Taylor is ostensibly a railroad engineer accompanying Aubrey to seek out her long-lost father and fiancée (Allan Cuthbertson) in dangerous Warusha country, there is hardly a train in sight throughout the film but instead as much actual animal footage as their (limited) resources could buy. The cast is rounded-up by a would-be villainous Gregoire Aslan, his spunky son played by our very own John Dimech, (who joins Taylor's expedition and, bizarrely, orders the African porters around in his native Maltese tongue for a while but then swaps for what sounds like gibberish passing for authentic Swahili!), Martin Benson (as a treacherous head porter), Martin Boddey (as a rival German railroad engineer) and, very early on, Donald Pleasence as a ship's captain. It was amusing for me to watch Dimech sharing scenes with Newley and Pleasence since both these two stalwarts would themselves come to Malta in the late 1960s (controversially) and early 1980s (obscurely, although I did manage to catch a glimpse of him drinking at the bar of a local Band Club) respectively!
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