Trader Horn (1973)

R | 105-106 mins | Adventure | June 1973

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HISTORY

According to various news items, M-G-M was planning a remake of their successful 1931 film Trader Horn (see above) as early as 1962, when Henry Hathaway reportedly would direct the project. Executive producers D. A. Doran and Joe Vogel were listed as instigating the project at that time, and Al Zimbalist was listed as being in-charge of production. A Var news item in Jan 1973 mentioned that, in 1971, a production of the film was under consideration with Carter DeHaven producing and Reza Badiyi directing a script by Alan Sharp. A Dec 1971 HR news item indicates that the interest in the project had resumed but production had to be postponed because of the African rainy season. According to a Mar 1973 DV item, with only three days of filming remaining, the production was shut down one day when star Anne Heywood injured her back in a fall.
       Most of the reviews of Trader Horn were negative, pointing out its substandard production quality. Although an onscreen acknowledgement reported that African locations were photographed in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Congo, as many reviews noted, the location footage was taken from the 1950 M-G-M production, King Solomon's Mine . Box reported that additional footage was taken from the 1953 production Mogambo and the 1969 film The Bushbaby , both from M-G-M. Footage from King Solomon's Mine also had been utilized in the 1959 M-G-M release Watusi (see entries above below). All original footage for Trader Horn was shot in Los Angeles. ... More Less

According to various news items, M-G-M was planning a remake of their successful 1931 film Trader Horn (see above) as early as 1962, when Henry Hathaway reportedly would direct the project. Executive producers D. A. Doran and Joe Vogel were listed as instigating the project at that time, and Al Zimbalist was listed as being in-charge of production. A Var news item in Jan 1973 mentioned that, in 1971, a production of the film was under consideration with Carter DeHaven producing and Reza Badiyi directing a script by Alan Sharp. A Dec 1971 HR news item indicates that the interest in the project had resumed but production had to be postponed because of the African rainy season. According to a Mar 1973 DV item, with only three days of filming remaining, the production was shut down one day when star Anne Heywood injured her back in a fall.
       Most of the reviews of Trader Horn were negative, pointing out its substandard production quality. Although an onscreen acknowledgement reported that African locations were photographed in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Congo, as many reviews noted, the location footage was taken from the 1950 M-G-M production, King Solomon's Mine . Box reported that additional footage was taken from the 1953 production Mogambo and the 1969 film The Bushbaby , both from M-G-M. Footage from King Solomon's Mine also had been utilized in the 1959 M-G-M release Watusi (see entries above below). All original footage for Trader Horn was shot in Los Angeles. Box noted that Trader Horn 's plot was more similar to that of King Solomon's Mine than to the original film and the Ethelreda Lewis novel on which it was based. Modern sources add Lance Taylor, Sr. to the cast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 Jul 1973
p. 4608.
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1972.
---
Daily Variety
7 Mar 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1962.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 1962.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 1973
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 1973
p. 40.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1973
p. 3, 6.
Los Angeles Times
13 Jun 1973.
---
New York Times
22 Jun 1973.
---
Variety
3 Jan 1973.
---
Variety
13 Jun 1973
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Casting
Scr supv
Tech adv
Unit pub
STAND INS
Action scenes coord
Action scenes coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Ethelreda Lewis.
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1973
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 13 June 1973
Production Date:
late January--mid March 1973
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 June 1973
Copyright Number:
LP42369
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
105-106
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1916 British West Africa, the British army charges big game hunter Trader Horn with treason for trading with German soldiers, then refusing to guide a British squad to the German camp. Indifferent to the war raging in Europe, Horn nevertheless disavows having any exchange with the Germans. When British commanding officer Col. Sinclair orders Horn’s arrest, the hunter escapes with the assistance of his native partner Apaque. Later in the jungle, Horn runs into longtime acquaintance, French trader Emil DuMond, who, sympathetic to Horn’s dilemma, invites him to his home far downriver from British military headquarters. There Horn and Apaque meet Nicole Mercer, Emil’s girl friend who has just arrived from Paris. Over dinner that night, Nicole shows Horn a distinctive necklace in the shape of a serpent made from platinum and Emil reveals his intention to travel beyond the distant Gurandi Falls where he believes a platinum mine exists. Despite Emil’s insistence that the discovery of such a mine would make them extraordinarily wealthy, Horn refuses Emil’s request to guide the journey. Later in private, Nicole pleads with Horn to help Emil fulfill this longtime dream, but Horn again declines. The next morning Horn finds Emil packing for the journey to Gurandi and reluctantly agrees to help repair the steamboat engine so that he can make the trip there. That evening, a guard announces the approach of British soldiers. When Horn, Emil and the others rush to the boat, however, they find the newly repaired engine has been sabotaged, forcing them to take their supplies and escape on foot. Horn holds ... +


In 1916 British West Africa, the British army charges big game hunter Trader Horn with treason for trading with German soldiers, then refusing to guide a British squad to the German camp. Indifferent to the war raging in Europe, Horn nevertheless disavows having any exchange with the Germans. When British commanding officer Col. Sinclair orders Horn’s arrest, the hunter escapes with the assistance of his native partner Apaque. Later in the jungle, Horn runs into longtime acquaintance, French trader Emil DuMond, who, sympathetic to Horn’s dilemma, invites him to his home far downriver from British military headquarters. There Horn and Apaque meet Nicole Mercer, Emil’s girl friend who has just arrived from Paris. Over dinner that night, Nicole shows Horn a distinctive necklace in the shape of a serpent made from platinum and Emil reveals his intention to travel beyond the distant Gurandi Falls where he believes a platinum mine exists. Despite Emil’s insistence that the discovery of such a mine would make them extraordinarily wealthy, Horn refuses Emil’s request to guide the journey. Later in private, Nicole pleads with Horn to help Emil fulfill this longtime dream, but Horn again declines. The next morning Horn finds Emil packing for the journey to Gurandi and reluctantly agrees to help repair the steamboat engine so that he can make the trip there. That evening, a guard announces the approach of British soldiers. When Horn, Emil and the others rush to the boat, however, they find the newly repaired engine has been sabotaged, forcing them to take their supplies and escape on foot. Horn holds off Sinclair and his squad, but Emil is wounded in the escape. Later, Horn learns from Apaque that native drums carried the news of their whereabouts to the British, but Emil maintains that his workers are loyal. Having decided the only way to escape Sinclair is to undertake Emil’s journey to the falls, Horn insists that they proceed the ten miles to Lagunza where Emil has arranged wagons with additional supplies and native bearers. Nicole protests moving the still recovering Emil, but both men agree it is necessary. The next day, the group continues their arduous journey keeping far away from various wild animals. Rejoining Horn after a brief scouting trip, Apaque reports that the Germans have hired a native guide and are approximately three hours behind them. The next night, Horn and the others are startled out of their sleep by gunfire, sending them fleeing into the jungle for cover. There they witness a small German patrol rounding up several African natives and killing those who resist. Horn bitterly concludes that the Germans are using the natives for forced labor. After another long day traveling, Horn declares the wagons and oxen can no longer proceed through the rugged terrain ahead and several natives depart with the wagons while the main group continues. Late that day, the group comes upon several dead natives who have clearly been tortured. Horn orders them buried before going on to a village where the tribal chief and elders relate that the Germans have been rounding up their young men who are easily out-gunned. The natives provide Horn and Emil boats and they continue on the river before returning to the increasingly dense jungle. When Nicole falls into a quagmire, both Horn and Emil rush to her aid and must themselves be rescued by Apaque and the others. That evening, Horn offers Nicole some salve for the leech wounds on her back and confesses that he has fallen in love with her. Unknown to the others, Emil’s top native worker, Malugi, has been responsible for the earlier sabotage and betrayal to the British. Sneaking away before dawn, he starts a large fire to attract the British and cause a stampede of several panicked animal herds just as Horn’s group resumes their journey. After losing several native bearers in the stampede, the group reaches the Gurandi Falls where they rest. Spying a solitary Watusi warrior on a nearby ridge, Horn beckons to the native who joins them. The man, Umbopa, recognizes Nicole’s necklace and states that he can lead them to the mine of what he calls the “metal of death.” That night, distant drum signals fill the air and the next morning, Apaque and Umbopa report to Horn and Emil that all of the native bearers have fled in fear. In search of more supplies, the men and Nicole arrive at the cabin of Alfredo Cara Rosa, a disreputable guide who has worked with the Germans. When it becomes clear that Alfredo is willing to give them up to the aggressive local natives, Horn takes Alfredo hostage in order to escape. In the jungle, however, Alfredo strikes Emil, takes his rifle and is about to shoot Horn when Apaque steps in the way and is killed by the bullet meant for Horn. Although distraught over the loss of his friend, Horn, who has killed Alfredo, leads Emil, Nicole and Umbopa into the treetops to avoid the native search party. The journey grows more arduous the next day as Umbopa leads them across a desert. After finding water at a small oasis, the group continues and eventually reaches a green, mountainous area and a small group of Watusi. Displaying a series of tattoos on his chest, back and arms, Umbopa is welcomed as the Watusi chief who they had assumed was lost. Afterward, the Watusi take Horn and Emil to a cliff overlooking a valley where natives, under German management, work the platinum mine. When Horn expresses his desire to help free the natives, Emil resists, declaring that he is only interested in the platinum. Undaunted, Horn makes plans to attack the mine with Umbopa. Later that day as Horn and the natives begin their surprise assault on the German guard, Nicole pleads with Emil to help, but he refuses. Having seen where the Germans hide their explosives, Horn is able to gather some dynamite as the Watusi provide cover, and he plants a lit stick in the mine entrance. As the battle grows heated, a soldier wounds Horn, drawing the reluctant Emil and terrified Nicole out to help him. When there is no explosion after several minutes, Horn suspects the fuse has gone out and Emil rushes to the cave to reignite it and, as Nicole watches in horror, is shot down before he can return. The ensuing explosion and cave-in kills most of the German guards. That evening, the Watusi celebrate their freedom and the return of their chief. A few days later, after Umpoba and his elders arrange for a group to escort Horn and Nicole out of the jungle, Sinclair and his men arrive. Although Sinclair again attempts to arrest Horn, the hunter insists that he has led the British to the Germans after all. +

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

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