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Gert van den Bergh,
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A small airplane crashes in the sweltering deserts of southern Africa hundreds of miles from civilization. As parallels are drawn between the stranded group of seven passengers and a nearby pack of savage baboons, one of the men's survivalist nature gets the better of him, as he decides his chances of survival would be better if the other men were eliminated one-by-one. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Running virtually parallel with "Flight of the Phoenix", "Sands of the Kalahari" rates ahead by a propeller in my opinion thanks mainly to the superb ensemble cast ably led by Stuart Whitman and Stanley Baker. The plot is uncomplicated concerning the survivors of a plane crash deep in the isolated Kalahari who must survive the ravages of the desert, its occupants, and themselves.
Davenport is a particularly nasty thug, the ubiquitous 'Mr Negativity' of a crisis situation, York desperately trying to deflect unwanted attentions, and Bikel offers the calming influence as the man who might be capable of engineering an improbable escape. Not too sure whether it's Whitman or Baker's picture per se, nevertheless, neither seems overshadowed despite Baker's producer credit and regular helmsman Cy Raker Endfield in the director's seat.
Searing heat and parched throats translates to the viewer, it's often tense despite the two hour run-time, and Endfield builds modest suspense out of limited material. Worth a look if you're intrigued by the "stranded" stories watching various personalities disintegrate, or galvanise, under survival stress.
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