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A group of men are on safari. One of the party refuses to give a gift to a tribe they encounter. The tribe is offended, seizes the party, and one-by-one, kills all but one of the safari members in various creative and horrifying ways. The last surviving member is given "The Lion's Chance" by the tribal leader to be hunted down by a party of tribal warriors. Naked and weaponless he is set loose, the hunters hot on his heels, beginning a life-or-death hunt through wild Africa. Written by
Cornel Wilde was ill through much of the filming but continued, noting that it seemed to add to his performance. See more »
In the scene where the cobra bites the warrior pursuer on the leg, the cobra vanishes from the scene immediately after striking. Obviously, it would be too dangerous to have the snake and the actors together. See more »
This is not a film for the squeamish. Footage of African elephants being gunned down was used in this film. Some of the most horrific brutality man can inflict on his fellow human being is depicted. How did they get a tribe to act out these ghastly portrayals? Were these practices once used? Binding someone, encasing them in mud, sticking a cylindrical device in their mouth so they can breathe, allowing the mud to harden, and then slow roasting them over a fire is much more than primitive. It is a scenario drawn out of the deepest recesses of depravity.
No suggestion of racism here. Both blacks and whites are hacked, speared, and cut to pieces. Thank goodness that part of the film is overshadowed by a thrilling chase through the wilds of Africa, which is the gist of the story.
It is easy to conclude that many black people have been offended by the imagery in this film. I was offended at the brutality. But, I was captivated by the desire to make this film believable. Even the music was traditional African. The humanity of the savage pursuers is manifested. And finally, the bond of humanity between the hunted and the hunter is suggested: as Cornel Wilde raises his hand to show respect to those who so eagerly tried to kill him, the lead hunter raises his hand as a gesture of respect and admiration. The same basic idea can be seen in the final scenes of Zulu Dawn. After the bloodshed, enemies become honored warriors.
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