Odongo 1956

Warwick Productions seemed to be testing the water in many ways, with quite a few adventure films and this was one of them – following on swiftly from ‘Safari’ with Victor Mature which seemed to have a reasonable budget and I found very entertaining

This one ‘Odongo’ is again set in Africa and was filmed at the same time as ‘Safari’ which must have made economic senseif it can all be pulled together

The film was photographed in Cinemascope and Technicolor and set on an animal farm in Kenya and starred McDonald Carey and Rhonda Fleming.

MacDonald Carey plays Steve Stratton, a hunter who collects animals for zoos and circuses, and Fleming plays Pamela Muir, the shapely red-headed vet newly hired to look after the health of the animals being held for their buyers. When Stratton had hired “P.J. Muir,” he didn’t know she was a woman and is a bit upset, thinking the job will be too much for her. He urges her to leave but allows her to stay until he can find a new vet.

Meantime, there are plenty of animals to take care of and Muir plunges into her work with courage and dedication. Odongo is a spirited adolescent Indian boy (played by Juma) who works for Stratton, feeding and caring for the animals and also serving the whites at dinnertime. Stratton is an occasionally harsh father figure to the boy, scolding him for developing overly close relationships with the animals and taking him hunting to try to get him to learn to shoot antelopes (to get meat for the camp), all to no avail. The boy can’t bring himself to kill.

Serious conflict is introduced when Walla, a disgruntled native who’d been fired by Stratton, sneaks into camp one night, frees all the animals and then sets fire to the place. Odongo is blamed for the crime and he runs away. Walla finds Odongo and abducts him. When Walla is identified as the culprit by a wounded witness, whites and local natives join in the hunt. The chase is on.

Later Walla and pushes Odongo from a cliff into crocodile-filled waters.

Steve, luckily, is on hand to save him.

Then Walla encounters one of Odongo’s animals while trying to escape and he is killed. After all this excitement, Pamela agrees to stay

ABOVE – Juma had previously been in ‘Safari’ and had impressed the film makers to such an extent that he was quickly into this one – again he gets very good reviews

ABOVE – Still from the film – when we saw these in the glass case outside of the cinema, we just had to see the film. We couldn’t afford to miss this one !!

ABOVE – An excellent and very exciting poster

Two or three years before this, Warwick Films had scored a big box office hit with ‘The Red Beret’ starring Alan Ladd

‘Odongo’ did ok but was nowhere near as successful as ‘The Red Beret’

A snippet I did not know was that, later than this and beginning in 1965, MacDonald Carey appeared playing DR Tom Horton in the US Television series ‘Days of Our Lives’ – in fact not only was he in it, he played this part in 3828 episodes. Astonishing

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