Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


A half-naked Cornel Wilde
THE NAKED PREY (1965). Director/producer: Cornel Wilde.

An unnamed guide (Cornel Wilde) is leading a safari to hunt elephants for ivory, but an arrogant member of the group refuses to give trinkets to the natives. In what seems to be the midst of tribal wars, the members of the safari are captured and put to death in torturous and horrifying ways as men, women and children look on with glee and even participate. The guide is to be the subject of a hunt, and tries to survive attack after attack as he makes his way across Africa. The Naked Prey is absorbing, although at times Wilde seems like some kind of latter-day Tarzan the way he handily defeats each and every black warrior who comes after him. On the other hand, there's a charming scene when a little native boy saves his life in gratitude for Wilde's saving his and showing him compassion earlier. There are no translations for the natives, unfortunately. Wilde [Shockproof], in great shape at fifty-three, gives a very good, mostly silent performance -- he also does a very good job as director --  and the actors playing natives are also quite effective. The photography by H.A. R. Thomson is excellent, and the movie, in addition to being suspenseful, illustrates the diversity of the people, wild life and topography of Africa.

Verdict: Imperfect, but something different. ***.

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