Sands of the Kalahari

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After a small aircraft crashes in the Kalahari Desert, one of the seven passengers decides that his survival chances would increase if he would eliminate the other men in the group.

ACTORS :  Stanley Baker, Stuart Whitman, Susannah York

YEAR OF RELEASE : 1965

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Sands of the Kalahari   A small airplane crashes in the sweltering deserts of southern Africa hundreds of miles from civilization. As parallels are drawn between the stranded group of seven passengers and a nearby pack of savage baboons, one of the men’s survivalist nature gets the better of him, as he decides his chances of survival would be better if the other men were eliminated one-by-one.

Returning to the Primitive

Sands of the Kalahari   I’m really gratified to find so many other reviewers having good memories of Sands of the Kalahari and feeling as put out as I do that it is not on VHS or DVD. Nor apparently has it been seen in America at least for some time.

This is a tale of survival, but the characters sure don’t come out of Swiss Family Robinson. A small plane crashes in the Kalahari desert in South Africa. One woman, Susannah York, and five men. Only one of them Stuart Whitman who is a big game hunter is really trained for the business of survival. The others are products of the ease and comfort of civilization. One of them, Stanley Baker, is badly injured and needs constant nursing by York.

Sands of the Kalahari   There’s a colony of baboons nearby and Whitman starts identifying with them in every sense of the world. He turns on the others, eliminating them one by one except York who he decides will be his savage Eve to his savage Adam.

The injured Baker gradually heals and in the end proves to be the savior for York. I’m not going to say any more, but hopefully TCM or AMC will run this film at some point for American audiences.

Sands of the Kalahari   Susannah York is beautiful and talented and goes through a gamut of emotions regarding Whitman and their predicament. Stanley Baker is a favorite of mine among British players, he never gave a bad performance in any film I ever saw him in. But the real treat is Whitman. His devolution of character out in that desert was Oscar caliber material and why he wasn’t nominated in 1965 is a mystery.

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