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 said in interviews at the time that scene in which his character turns and is narrowly missed by a spear was an accident that could have been gruesomely real, but the scene worked and was kept. See more »
When Wilde is surrounded by the snakes we plainly hear Rattlesnake sound effects. None of the snakes are rattlers since they aren't indigenous to Africa. See more »
A lot of comments hear say that this movie is obviously racist.
I think this an nervous knee jerk reaction. It definitely dose not put a phony PC spin on colonial Africa but that doesn't mean it is racist.
Certainly the racism of the safari leader who refuses to respect the tribe with a gift is portrayed and is most likely accurate. It should be noted that the rest of the movie is a direct result of this racist white mans ignorant arrogance and that the hero knows better and tries to warn him. It is improbable that one man, out of his element, could over come his pursuers who must know the terrain better and have more experience hunting and fighting with spears, however I think this is not an attempt to portray the white man as superior but a convention of action movies (heroes can always dodge bullets). The idea that this movie portrays all Africans as savages is based on the assumption that the pursuers are representative of ALL Africans which is a bit racist in itself. They are a particular tribe. Africa is a big continent full of many different nations and tribes. There are other Africans present including those in the safari party, who are not shown to be savages. There are also two other tribes depicted towards the end. One is the village that the man comes upon. These people wear dyed clothing and seem to have a more advanced, structured, and less violently primal, society. The white mans life is saved by a child from this more peaceful tribe. They are attacked by another tribe, obviously working for colonial slave traders, who wear more modern clothing and have guns. This really happened. Some Africans at war with other Africans would sell their conquered foes to the white slave traders.
When will people learn that portraying racism in all its ugliness and complexity is not equivalent to being a racist. The man who plays the hero was also the director. he is a white man and the story is told from his perspective but not exclusively. Part of the films context is that of cultures colliding, both European with African, and African with African. Another important point to this movie is that this is an educated, civilized man who is (literally) stripped of all the trappings of his civilization and thrust into the primal, and universal, struggle of shear survival. Im no expert on Africa but from what little I have read about its history, the movie, while a simple tale in itself, did not seem to over simplify its portrayal of Africa. I suspect that, quite far from being racist, the makers of this film probably had a respect for African culture. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
Over all I found it to be well acted. Even though the film makers did not have had a big Hollywood budget and may have used some stock wild life footage, it seemed to blend seamlessly. As far as the chicken chasing scene, I liked how comic it was. In reality a starving man, desperately chasing a chicken around with a spear would probably look pitifully comical and I believe the irony is intentional.
I recommend this film. I found it to be very original but if forced to describe it I would say its a mixture of Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout (though not as pretentious) and Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
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