HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You Don't Nomi
Man from the Alamo, The
Vast of Night, The
Furies, The
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Sands of the Kalahari The End Of Civilisation As We Know It
Year: 1965
Director: Cy Endfield
Stars: Stuart Whitman, Stanley Baker, Susannah York, Harry Andrews, Theodore Bikel, Nigel Davenport
Genre: Drama, Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The flight to Johannesburg has been delayed, and Mrs Grace Munkton (Susannah York) is forced to stay in a hotel for the night until the travel arrangements can get their act together. However, just as she steps out of the shower and is preparing for bed, there is a knock at the door; two of the men she recognises from the airport are there with a suggestion. How about they charter a light aircraft to take them to their destination? Grace agrees, and is soon flying through the dawn along with five other passengers - but then disaster strikes!

They're going down! They've hit a huge swarm of locusts which have jammed the engines and made the plane plunge into the desert below! What will the passengers do now? Well, they'll be late for getting to Johannesburg for a start, but more importantly they must survive in this hostile landscape until help arrives, if indeed it ever does because they are in a very remote location. If this is sounding familiar, it's due to an unfortunate coincidence of timing, for 1965 was the year the similar Flight of the Phoenix was released and became a hit across the world, a success which lasts to this day among its cultists.

Sands of the Kalahari on the other hand is a far more obscure movie, as it was overshadowed by the James Stewart favourite and didn't make a massive amount of money, or impact, at the time. For those who did see it, there were some who dismissed it as hysterical, but for others who appreciated its overstatement and its themes of the descent into savagery as the proximity of harsh nature takes its toll, this was a gem. With an ensemble cast which rose to the challenges the script demanded of them, and a very particular atmosphere of threat and gradually simmering, impending violence all under the baking hot sun, it's not surprising that some responded to the characters' struggles to stay civilised.

That script was drawn from a novel by William Mulvihill by the director Cy Endfield, a fascinating chap who could count inventor and magician as two of the other strings to his bow. His best known film was the one which came before this one, Zulu, a megahit which demonstrated his skill and sense of the epic along with his keen observation of humanity, and with his frequent producing partner Stanley Baker, who had starred in many of their collaborations along with this one, set out to make muscular movies which with any luck would strike gold at the box office. That happened with Zulu, but not here, and the failure of this and his subsequent projects led Endfield to retire from the movie business.

Which was a shame when you recognise the quality of this, and the manner in which the characters' enforced brutality made for absorbing melodrama. Some of the survivors embrace that more fully than others, and it's Stuart Whitman in a terrific performance as O'Brien who finds himself in his element, shooting baboons, hunting, bullying the others in increasingly unsubtle ways, and strutting about with his chest bared as if to prove his alpha male qualities. Grace is entranced, certainly more so when the pilot (Nigel Davenport) tries to rape her, and she becomes a kind of trophy for O'Brien even as Baker's injured alcoholic Bain twigs what he's up to. Filling out that cast were intellectual Harry Andrews who makes the inevitable Nazi reference, and Theodore Bikel as the dead weight O'Brien rounds on, but all made an impression in a plot that may have been more deliberately paced than it needed to be, but placed social dynamics under the movie equivalent of an electron microscope and drew some grim conclusions. That striking ending, as the baboons reassert themselves, was not easily forgotten. Music by Johnny Dankworth.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2199 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: