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Publisher: SAFARI PRESS, Jun 2009
This movie, made in 1954 & narrated by Ruark himself, gives a picture of safari hunting in British East Africa (BEA) at the time of the Mau Mau Emergency. We see the mobile tent safaris of old that were entirely self sufficient & even bread was baked in the bush. All in all, four members of the Big Five are shot on camera. B&W vintage photography; 65 min.
This movie, made in 1954 & narrated by Robert Ruark himself, gives a picture of safari hunting in British East Africa (BEA) at the time of the Mau Mau Emergency. Ruark arrives in BEA via Cairo & Addis Ababa in an Ethiopian Airlines propeller plane. Noteworthy is the fact that a passenger departs the plane with a rifle in hand! There?s a lot to be said for a simpler time without terrorists & terrorism!
Once in Nairobi, Ruark & his wife, Virginia, meet with Harry Selby & Jack Block, the owner of Kerr & Downey, to plan their safari. At Harry Selby?s advise Andrew Holmberg was hired by Ruark to protect & maneuver the cameraman in the right positions so the best possible film could be made. Soon the party is off with a few trucks & a crew of twenty natives, heading toward the NFD. Early on it becomes obvious to the viewer that the safaris of old where long, drawn-out affairs. Ruark?s safari goes from Northern Kenya to Uganda to Tanzania & then back to Kenya, & while the film does not say how long this all took, two months is a fair estimate. Ruark & Selby look for a large tusker in the Liasames/Merille area & they succeed in finding a 110-pounder that is shot on camera. Thereafter, around Isiolo, the safari looks for a black rhino; a charge & kill are shown on camera.
The safari moves to Uganda next, but the hunters have no luck there, so it is off to Masailand where John Sutton replaces Andrew Holmberg. Here we get to see what safari life was like. We see the mobile tent safaris of old that were entirely self sufficient & even bread was baked in the bush. Virginia & Robert Ruark shoot sand grouse & then look for a large buffalo. RR brings home a whopper of no less than 49 inches in spread. Finally Selby, Sutton, & RR bait for a leopard that they manage to get. All in all, four members of the Big Five are shot on camera.
PLEASE NOTE: This footage was made more than fifty years ago, & it is in black & white. Although professionally edited & provided with a good sound track, it is not up to modern standards of color film with high definition cameras. If you seek that, do not buy this DVD. If you want to see what a safari was like in BEA in the mid-1950s & care about authentic footage, this film is for you. We here at Safari Press are nostalgic & score it an eight out of ten, keeping the above caveats in mind.