Africa's first Western genre film. SPOILER ALERT
THE HELLIONS (1961) KEN ANNAKIN
Emil Nofal’s ultra-violent moer hom, boetie
(hit him, brother!) Western Voor Sononder
is often wrongly referred to as South Africa’s first film in the Western genre, although it is the first Afrikaans language Western. The pioneering honour falls to this film, a co-production between Jamie Uys Film Productions Ltd. and Columbia Pictures – an very violent tale of a band of cowardly thugs who hold a small town and its’ inhabitants to ransom, until a crusading policeman saves the day.
It is generally believed that this film has been lost as it has never been released on VHS or DVD, but this belief is thankfully untrue, as the Pretoria based National Film, Video and Sound Archives has no less than five 35mm film prints in its’ collection. Lushly photographed in Cinemascope by Ted Moore, B.S.C. and with strong performances all round, the film stars Richard Todd, Lionel Jeffries, Anne Aubrey and Jamie Uys. Its’ basic premise later gave rise to the films Voor Sononder
, (Before Sunrise) Stropers Van Die Laeveld
(The Lowveld Bandits) and The Jackals