CHILDHOOD FEAR ALERT: This film scared me plenty as a kid. It still does. DIRKIE
(1969) JAMIE UYS
Jamie Uys joined forces with Mimosa Pictures in 1965 after a power struggle in Jamie Uys Film Productions (his own company) saw him ejected in absentia by his erstwhile friend and partner Tommie Meyer and he found a home there, turning out successful films such asDie Professor & Die Prikkelpop
, Beautiful People
, Funny People 1 & 2
and The Gods Must Be Crazy 1 & 2.
Dirkie (also known as Lost In The Desert
and Adventures In The Red Desert
) was a major international hit for Uys, Mimosa Films and the South African film industry at large ~ the only hiccup in this otherwise successful story was that Jamie Uys altered his and his son Wynand’s surnames from Uys to Hayes, causing a storm in a teacup locally. Even to this day, the Internet Movie Database lists Wynand Uys as Dirkie Uys, until I changed it last month, anyway.
The basic premise of the movie was this: Uys wanted to make a film that would entertain his younger fans, but for many who saw this film when they were little, it had the unfortunate reverse effect of scaring them, ensuring that they remember it to this day. The plot line is similar to Robert Aldrich’s The Flight Of The Phoenix
, David Millin’s eerie Ride The High Wind
and the supernatural thriller Sole Survivor
, directed by Paul Stanley. A young boy is travelling with his grandfather in a light aircraft, the grandfather suffers a coronary and dies, the plane crashes, leaving the boy and his dog to fend for themselves.
The boy’s father mounts a search for his son, little knowing that his son has been found by a group of Bushmen who take care of him after many threatening adventures in which the boy faces spitting cobras and hungry hyenas, all the while keeping his dog Lollie safe and praying for his father to come and rescue him. The scene among many in this film which remains seared in the minds of all who saw it when it was first released is the sight of the Bushmen offering the child some meat ~ he freaks, thinking mistakenly that they have killed his dog.