Zanzibar (1940)

68-70 mins | Adventure | 8 March 1940

Director:

Harold Schuster

Producer:

Warren Douglas

Cinematographer:

Milton Krasner

Editor:

Milton Carruth

Production Designer:

Jack Otterson

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Rigadoon . Articles in HCN note that radio writer Norman Rose sued Universal for plagiarism, asserting that they stole the plot from a story he broadcast in Sep 1939 entitled "The Strange Story of the Versailles Treaty's Lost Skull ". He lost the ... More Less

The working title of this film was Rigadoon . Articles in HCN note that radio writer Norman Rose sued Universal for plagiarism, asserting that they stole the plot from a story he broadcast in Sep 1939 entitled "The Strange Story of the Versailles Treaty's Lost Skull ". He lost the suit. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Mar 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Apr 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Citizen-News
23-May-41
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
1 Apr 40
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
13 Jan 40
p. 42.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Mar 40
p. 62.
New York Times
1 Apr 40
p. 15.
Variety
3 Apr 40
p. 14.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Rigadoon
Release Date:
8 March 1940
Production Date:
14580
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 February 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9443
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68-70
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6031
SYNOPSIS

Jan Browning, a celebrated explorer and big game hunter, embarks upon her greatest adventure when she is commissioned by the British government to retrieve the sacred skull of Nogoru. The skull is that of the late Sultan Mkawa, and its possessor automatically holds control over the superstitious natives of East Africa. Despite provisions of the Versailles Treaty, which demand surrender of the skull, it is kept enshrined in a temple in the interior of the country of Nogoru. Cancelling her trip home, Jan sails down the African coast, accompanied by Steve Marland, a young American stowaway; Rhad Ramsey, her veteran guide; and Koski, a foreign agent who has bribed the ship's mate, Nate Simpson, to smuggle him aboard. Koski knows the real purpose of Jan's trip, and after killing the captain, he and Simpson take control of the craft. During a storm, the vessel is wrecked along the African coast with only Jan, Steve, Rhad, Koski, Simpson and Bino, a crew member, reaching shore alive. Disregarding danger, Jan leads her party on a shortcut over treacherous mountains toward the Nogoru village where the skull is kept. Bino is slain by a lion, but the rest of the group reaches the village in an exhausted, half-starved condition. They are welcomed by Umboga, a tribal chief who remembers Jan from previous expeditions and trusts her. The sultan insists on providing Jan with native guides to accompany her on the animal hunt she has organized as an excuse for her visit. Scheming to get the skull for himself, Koski arouses the sultan's suspicions of Jan, and when she returns from the hunt, he sets a ... +


Jan Browning, a celebrated explorer and big game hunter, embarks upon her greatest adventure when she is commissioned by the British government to retrieve the sacred skull of Nogoru. The skull is that of the late Sultan Mkawa, and its possessor automatically holds control over the superstitious natives of East Africa. Despite provisions of the Versailles Treaty, which demand surrender of the skull, it is kept enshrined in a temple in the interior of the country of Nogoru. Cancelling her trip home, Jan sails down the African coast, accompanied by Steve Marland, a young American stowaway; Rhad Ramsey, her veteran guide; and Koski, a foreign agent who has bribed the ship's mate, Nate Simpson, to smuggle him aboard. Koski knows the real purpose of Jan's trip, and after killing the captain, he and Simpson take control of the craft. During a storm, the vessel is wrecked along the African coast with only Jan, Steve, Rhad, Koski, Simpson and Bino, a crew member, reaching shore alive. Disregarding danger, Jan leads her party on a shortcut over treacherous mountains toward the Nogoru village where the skull is kept. Bino is slain by a lion, but the rest of the group reaches the village in an exhausted, half-starved condition. They are welcomed by Umboga, a tribal chief who remembers Jan from previous expeditions and trusts her. The sultan insists on providing Jan with native guides to accompany her on the animal hunt she has organized as an excuse for her visit. Scheming to get the skull for himself, Koski arouses the sultan's suspicions of Jan, and when she returns from the hunt, he sets a trap to test her sincerity. That night, while trying to steal the skull from the temple, Jan and Steve are captured and turned over, along with Rhad, to the natives for execution. Umboga, whose life Steve has saved, frees them, and they turn the captured wild beasts upon the natives. In the excitement, the trio race to the shrine and secure the skull after a desperate gun battle in which Koski and Simpson are killed. While the natives struggle to fight off the wild beasts, the volcano Rigadoon erupts, thus fulfilling the prophesy of destruction that results when the skull is disturbed. As the village burns, Jan, Steve and Rhad escape in a river raft. With them, they carry the sacred skull, which they intend to return to its rightful owner to help restore peace among the African tribes. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.