6 user 4 critic

West of Zanzibar (1954)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama | 17 January 1955 (USA)
The story of native tribesmen who move towards Mombasa, getting drawn info the world of ivory smuggling.


Harry Watt


Max Catto (screenplay), Jack Whittingham (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Steel ... Bob Payton
Sheila Sim ... Mary Payton
William Simons ... Tim Payton
Orlando Martins ... M'Kwongwi
Edric Connor Edric Connor ... Ushingo
David Osieli David Osieli ... Ambrose: Ushingo's Son
Bethlehem Sketch Bethlehem Sketch ... Bethlehem: Ushingo's Son
Martin Benson ... Lawyer Dhofar
Peter Illing ... Khingoni
Edward Johnson Edward Johnson ... Half Breed
Juma Juma ... Juma
Howard Marion-Crawford ... Wood (as Howard Marion Crawford)
Stuart Lindsell Stuart Lindsell ... Colonel Ryan (as R. Stuart Lindsell)
Sheik Abdullah Sheik Abdullah ... Dhow Captain
Joanna Kitau Joanna Kitau ... Ketch African


The story of native tribesmen who move towards Mombasa, getting drawn info the world of ivory smuggling.

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native | See All (1) »


One of the greatest African adventures of all! See more »


Adventure | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: The events and characters portrayed in this film are wholly fictitious. See more »


When the poachers are hunting the elephants, a kookaburra call is clearly heard. Kookaburras are only found in Australia, a continent thousands of miles east of Zanzibar. See more »


Mary Payton: Don't you understand what all this is doing to innocent African tribes?
Lawyer Dhofar: Perhaps I do. Perhaps I do not. But, but Mrs. Payton don't you think you are being a little, to put it delicately, starry-eyed about these so-called innocent tribes? Oh. come, Mrs. Payton, we must be realists. The world cannot wait for civilisation to catch up with the primitive black man.
Mary Payton: For one thing, this ivory business is destroying a fine, pastoral people, the Golanas; turning them into slum savages.
Lawyer Dhofar: But Mrs. Payton, in ...
See more »


Follows Ivory Hunter (1951) See more »

User Reviews

Moving Past Trader Horn
19 April 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

A tribe in East Africa has moved from their old areas, which has dried up and is no longer suitable for farming, down to the lowlands near Mombasa. Some of the young men finding that killing elephants illegally and selling their ivory is a way to get ahead in rapidly changing East Africa. Anthony Steele, on official leave from his job working with the natives, tries to track down those who really profit from the trade, with the reluctant urging of his wife, Sheila Sim.

It's a late colonial era view of East Africa, amidst which is set one of those tracking-down-the-smugglers stories that was a fixture of British crime drama. However, this Ealing production has moved on a bit from TRADER HORN, and the natives are human, particularly Edric Connor as the chief, and so is the villain of the piece -- Martin Benson, playing a native lawyer, a graduate of the Sorbonne, who lectures Steele on England's industrial revolution and angrily congratulates him on his naive good will.

This being a movie set in Africa, the movie can shift at any moment from an indoor courtroom to documentary footage, showing the most dangerous animals in Africa -- hippopotami -- or the markets of Zanzibar, wart hogs and elephants at a watering hole, native fishermen using suckerfish to catch sea turtles, or a native fishing festival. The director is Harry Watt, whose filmography indicates he was happier filming documentaries than story films.

Still, it's a well-told if typical story, set in an exotic location, and if its attitudes are not those we espouse today, there are some bright moments that survive well.

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Release Date:

17 January 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A l'ouest de Zanzibar See more »

Filming Locations:

Zanzibar, Tanzania See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Gaumont Kalee Recording) (RCA Sound System)


Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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