5.5/10
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11 user 4 critic

The Southern Star (1969)

In 1912 West Africa, diamond tycoon Kramer hires penniless American fortune hunter Dan Rockland, who's posing as a geologist, but when a huge diamond is found, everyone wants to steal it.

Directors:

Sidney Hayers, Orson Welles (uncredited)

Writers:

David Pursall (screenplay), Jack Seddon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Segal ... Dan
Ursula Andress ... Erica Kramer
Orson Welles ... Plankett
Ian Hendry ... Karl
Johnny Sekka ... Matakit
Michel Constantin ... Jose
Georges Géret ... Andre
Sylvain Levignac Sylvain Levignac ... Louis (as Sylvain)
Charles Lamb Charles Lamb ... Todd
Guy Delorme Guy Delorme ... Michael
Harry Andrews ... Kramer
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Storyline

Comedy adventure based on a Jules Verne novel about the ups and downs of jewel thieves in the wilds of Africa circa 1900. George Segal is the appealing hero-heel and Ursula Andress is visually stunning as the lady in the proceedings. Orson Welles has a small role. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Remember how "Cat Ballou" took the wild west for a ride...now "The Southern Star" takes off in wildest Africa See more »


Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 May 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Southern Star See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor: France)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orson Welles claimed that he was originally asked to play a conventional super-villain in the film, but rewrote his role so that the character became an incompetent (and homosexual) cockney. It has been also claimed that Welles rewrote some of George Segal's lines and encouraged the actor to improvise, but whether or not Welles actually directed any of the film has not been confirmed. See more »

Quotes

Erica Kramer: I'm trying to wash away a memory!
See more »

Soundtracks

The Southern Star
Music by Georges Garvarentz
Lyrics by Don Black
Performed by Georges Garvarentz Et Son Orchestre
Arranged by George Martin
Sung by Matt Monro
See more »

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User Reviews

An Understated Little Film
27 April 2004 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

Say Jules Verne and one has memories of cannons shooting men to the moon, or a mad sea captain destroying British ships with his personal submarine, or a proper Englishman betting 20,000 lbs (half his fortune) that he can get around the world in 80 days. And the movies have been kind to Verne's best known films: George Melies immortalized FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON in an early film. Walt Disney did films on TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and THE CHILDREN OF CAPTAIN GRANT (the latter entitled IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS). Ray Harryhausen's special effects are one of the treats of MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. Mike Todd produced AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS. And James Mason did make that JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. What is usually not realized is the lesser known titles that have gotten onto the screen - for Jules Verne wrote nearly 80 novels. MICHAEL STROGOFF was made into a film in Great Britain in the 1930s with Anton Walbrook. FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON was made into a comedy adventure (with Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Red Buttons) in the 1960s. A Mexican version of the long forgotten EIGHT HUNDRED LEAGUES OVER THE AMAZON was made in the 1950s. A French version of MATTHIAS SANDORF (Verne's attempt at an updated version of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO) was made starring Louis Jordan in the 1960s. And there was this little film, made in 1969.

What is frequently forgotten about Verne was that he was as preoccupied with politics as scientific developements. He usually was a liberal (one remarkable exception was his anti-Semitism, most markedly shown in his novel OFF ON A COMET - he also was convinced for years that Alfred Dreyfus was a traitor). In a late novel, THE DANUBE PILOT, he looks at the various warring nationalities in the Balkans and Austria Hungary. Another novel, THE SURVIVORS OF THE JONATHAN, dissects the various political philosophies of the day (Verne's hero is an anarchist). In the original THE SOUTHERN STAR Verne was taking a jaundiced eye at his particular bete noir - the British Empire in South Africa. The Boer - British rivalry there are a sounding board for looking at the society of South Africa. But one element is missing from the film. The villain is described as looking like Cecil Rhodes. But the villains in the film don't look like Rhodes.

Yet the film does get the relations of the three groups (native Africans, Boers, British) into some proportion. Ian Hendry is the real villain, having slowly made his way into a position of power over the career of his predecessor (and former patron) Welles, and hoping to take over Harry Andrews economic empire. Hendry romances Andrews niece, Andress, who is in love with Segal. As for Segal, he is friendly with Johnny Secca, who grew up with him. Andrews disapproves of this friendship, and Hendry detests the native Africans anyway. Andrews' diamond works has just produced the world's largest diamond - the "Southern Star". It is stolen and suspicion (fed by Hendry, and swallowed by Andrews) is that Secca stole it. Segal tries to help his friend (who is fleeing). Then Welles returns - he hopes to force Secca to give him the diamond, so he can regain his old position with Andrews.

The film is actually interesting enough to watch to its conclusion (and actually satisfactory even for Welles, as ambiguous a villain here as in some of his own films). It is not a great film by any stretch, but I would recommend seeing it.


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