Africa: Texas Style (1967)
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One of those is that of fellow rancher Nigel Green who raises cattle and is not looking to go into a new business. Curiously enough Mills accuses Green and his cattle of doing exactly what in a few hundred westerns the cattlemen accuse the sheep of doing, leaving the ground barren and eroded.
O'Brian is there for his roping skills and Nardini is his hazer in rodeo events. Roping a wildebeast or a zebra is a whole other proposition.
I'll leave the zoologists to debate the points of view the film has. For viewers it's a nice look of Kenya post independence and the acting is just fine. Looks at the Masai tribal culture is also interesting.
This will not rate with The African Queen or King Solomon's Mines as an African adventure, but it's pleasant enough.
This also served as a pilot for a short lived TV series where Chuck Connors and Ronald Howard play the roles that O'Brian and Mills do.
I don't know what I expected from this western pilot for a TV series I have never seen or will ever bother to try and see. I assume it was the weirdly comic title screaming out of the TV guide at me because even after watching it I couldn't find anything else that would encourage me to watch it again. The film opens with sweeping landscapes but after a while the shots of animals being roped start to get dull and it exposed the fact that the plot, about catching wild animals, is actually pretty boring as well. Essentially the plot has been thrown together to get a central "ranch" for the story to happen around but, as a pilot, the film put more effort into creating this base than it does into delivering a story. Occasionally the dialogue gets into interesting areas on hunting, catching animals, racism etc but generally I think these were in my mind because the film doesn't do anything of real interest with the themes are the script dismisses the subjects as soon as they threaten to be more than words.
The cast can do nothing to reverse this because they are fairly TV standard. O'Brian sleep walks his way through the film or at least he looks like he is asleep but I got the impression that he was acting flat out to come across as wooden as he did. Nardini is just as bad a Mexican sidekick who cannot do anything add anything in the way of comic value. Mills takes the money for nothing while Corri is as dull as dishwater and a very bad choice for a sort of love interest. Green is a solid villain while Malinda offers an acceptable cute kid to represent Africa while also allowing lots of non-speaking performances in colourful paint.
Overall a rather dull film that is a very obvious pilot due to how little it does other than set up a couple of cowboys, a ranch, some relationships and a bad guy. The plot and the action are fairly dull and I cared less and less the more the film went on. The cast don't do anything to help matters and generally turned in the type of performances you get when the material just requires actions from their characters instead of emotion. Not worth the two hours it will fill.
Copyright 2 June 1967 by Vantors Films. An Ivan Tors Production, released by Paramount. New York opening at RKO neighborhood theaters: 12 July 1967. U.S. release: 2 June 1967. U.K. release: 16 July 1967. Australian release: 5 January 1968. Sydney opening on a double bill at the Capitol (ran one week). 9,818 feet. 109 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: Hoping to develop wild game ranching in Kenya as an alternative to cattle ranching, Howard Hayes, an English settler, engages two Texan cowboys, Jim Sinclair and John Henry, to rope and herd the animals. Cattle rancher Karl Bekker opposes the scheme, fearing that his cattle will be infected by diseases spread by the wild animals.
COMMENT: With a banal script that does not miss a single cliché and has trite dialogue and "worthy" sentiments to match, Andrew Marton cannot make much of this film, even with actual location filming. The actors come off poorly, and the animals fare even worse, being mainly used to cover up action where inept direction has left an untoward gap. There are one or two moderately exciting moments, and the film is in color. Otherwise, it's a bore.