6.4/10
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The Wilby Conspiracy (1975)

A black anti-Apartheid activist and a British engineer are forced to run from South African Secret Police.

Director:

Ralph Nelson

Writers:

Rod Amateau (screenplay), Harold Nebenzal (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sidney Poitier ... Shack Twala
Michael Caine ... Jim Keogh
Nicol Williamson ... Major Horn
Prunella Gee ... Rina Van Niekirk
Saeed Jaffrey ... Anil Mukerjee
Persis Khambatta ... Persis Ray
Rijk de Gooyer Rijk de Gooyer ... Van Heerden (as Ryk De Gooyer)
Rutger Hauer ... Blane Van Niekirk
Patrick Allen ... District Commissioner
Joe De Graft Joe De Graft ... Wilby Xaba
Archie Duncan Archie Duncan ... Gordon
Abdulla Sunado Abdulla Sunado ... Village Headman
Helmut Dantine ... Prosecuting Counsel
Peter Pearce Peter Pearce ... Highway Policeman
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Storyline

Having spent ten years in prison for nationalist activities, Shack Twala is finally ordered released by the South African Supreme Court, but he finds himself almost immediately on the run after a run-in with the Police. Assisted by his lawyer Rina Van Niekirk and visiting British engineer Jim Keogh, he heads for Capetown where he hopes to recover a stash of diamonds, meant to finance revolutionary activities, that he had entrusted to a dentist before his incarceration. Along the way, they are followed by Major Horn of the South African State Security Bureau, and it becomes apparent that he has no intention of arresting them until they reach their destination. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Adventure across 900 miles of escape and survival. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Wilby-Verschwörung See more »

Filming Locations:

Kenya See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sidney Poitier and Sir Michael Caine were almost seriously injured during principal photography of a chase scene, when a fifty pound camera flew in between them, into the front seat of a Jeep, that Poitier was driving fast. Caine later commented: "It went like a massive bullet, and if it had hit either of us, our head would have been crushed to pulp. Sidney and I took several days to get over the shock of our near deaths, and this incident brought us both down to Earth, with rather more than a bump." See more »

Goofs

While hiding the car in a village on the way to Johannesburg, Twali speaks Swahili with the villagers. Swahili is only spoken in East and Central Africa, for example in Kenya, the location of the shooting, but not in South Africa. See more »

Quotes

Major Horn: Mukarjee could swear by the beard of the prophet or the nails of the true cross and it wouldn't mean a thing. Because Mukarjee is a goddamned, godless, atheist Marxist. And the only thing that he holds sacred is Che Guevara's foreskin.
See more »

Connections

References Rivaaj (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

All the Wishing in the World
(uncredited)
Music by Stanley Myers
Lyrics by Don Black
Sung by Diane Solomon
See more »

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User Reviews

 
On the whole, a good chase thriller.
27 November 2004 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine strike a winning screen partnership in this chase thriller set in South Africa. However, the most memorable portrayal comes from Nicol Williamson (an oft-underrated actor who steals the show in virtually every film he's in), as a particularly unpleasant racist security agent. The film is set against a background of volatile race relations, but the political angle of the story isn't thrust forth too heavy-handedly. First and foremost, this is a chase story... and it's all the better for it.

Bantu activist Shack Twala (Sidney Poitier) is acquited of terrorism charges in a Cape Town court. He is on his way for a celebratory drink with his lawyer Rina (Prunella Gee) and her English boyfriend Jim Keogh (Michael Caine), when they are assaulted by two racist policemen. They turn the tables on the policemen and give them a pretty thorough beating. Twala and Keogh go on the run, hoping to reach Johannesburg where Twala has a contact who can get them out of the country. However, they are pursued all the way by the bigoted Major Horn (Nicol Williamson). Horn's ultimate plan is to let Twala unknowingly lead him to the hideout of a rebel leader named Wilby.

The Wilby Conspiracy is generally a good film. The acting is excellent throughout, and the film has an unexpected element of humour, with Caine and Poitier providing several dynamic exchanges. The script is sharp, with enough incidents and twists to stay a step ahead of the viewer, and an interesting central theme. There aren't many shortcomings in The Wilby Conspiracy, though that's not to say it is perfect. The ending seems rather fudged, and some of the plot developments don't quite ring true. (The bit where Saeed Jaffrey's pretty young dental assistant attempts a treacherous double-cross is a good example of an unlikely plot contrivance). However, on the whole this is a slick, well-made and absorbing movie.


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