Where No Vultures Fly 1951

The Technicolor Cameras went to work in Kenya from around November 1950 on a four month shoot through the English Winter – so Anthony Steele, Dinah Sheridan and William Simons spent that winter in the warm African sun.

William Simons ABOVE – had quite a career and as a child actor he played in this one and the Sequel ‘West of Zanzibar’

Many years later though, for almost 20 years, he played Alf Ventress in the long running and very popular TV series ‘Heartbeat’

Anyway, back to the films – Maybe it was not all fun and games making ‘Where No Vultures Fly’ because, during the filming, Anthony Steele contracted Malaria – a very serious illness as we all know – while he was there and was hospitalised for a time

The Film was chosen as the Royal Command Performance for 1951

It did well at the Box Office particularly in the USA

It has just occurred to me that the filming of this would have been about the same time as MGM were doing ‘King Solomons Mines’ – a big and impressive picture – mind you Africa is a huge continent so they would most likely be miles away. Looking even further into this, it appears that most of the African location filming for King Solomons Mines was done by February of 1950 – whereas this one wasn’t started until later that year. Both were in that stunning Technicolor – still stunning to this day.

‘King Solomons Mines’ proved a massive hit at the Box Office for MGM

Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr were top billed – Elizabeth Curtis (Deborah Kerr) is missing her husband, who departed on a quest to find King Solomon’s lost diamond mines.  She meets and hires a disenchanted safari guide – Allan Quatermain (Stewart Granger) to lead a search party to find him.

Richard Carlson, Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger

Along the way they are besieged with several challenges, including a tremendous animal stampede which even today makes one wonder how it was filmed – and this was way before the days of CGI special effects.

 Even now this must rank as one of the best stampede scenes ever done.

It strikes me that these films have many similarities although in many ways they are totally different. ‘King Solomons Mines has a much stronger storyline from H Rider Haggard’s magnificent novel – even though this film was only loosely based on the book – whereas ‘Where No Vultures Fly’ has an interesting take on African life at that time and is really a semi-documentary but very good at that.

I remember someone quite famous saying that he loved H Rider Haggard’s books and he used to encourage his children to read them – this is in quite recent times. He made a deal with them to read the first 50 pages of any one of his novels – and he said he knew that after that they would not be able to put the book down.

H Rider Haggard’s remains one of the greatest adventure story tellers in English Literaure of all time

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