RIDE THE HIGH WIND [aka AFRICAN GOLD]
KILLARNEY FILM STUDIOS
Dedicated to my good friend Michael McGovern (Jack) and to the enduring memory of mentorship from and friendship with David Millin, A.S.C.
THE CHARACTERSMIKE GREGORY: DARREN MACGAVIN
Kolchak he ain’t: Wise-ass pilot who crashes his aeroplane in the desert. Hides from the spotter plane sent to find him, rescued by surveyors, makes the bing-boom-bang with a miner’s wife and returns to his home, only to be persuaded to return by the promise of mucho moola. KARL DU VAL: ALBERT LIEVEN
After being saved by a stinky exploding rat in The Guns of Navarone
, his career zooms when he plays the role of an uncouth German miner obsessed with finding a fortune in Anglo-Boer War gold but this gold lust leads him into a trap.HELENA HANSON: MARIA PERSCHY:
Major Dillon’s beautiful adopted daughter who has eyes for Mike and eyes for the first ever zombie to be seen in a South African film.MARIA DU VAL: ALISON SEEBOHM:
Karl’s abused and neglected wife who does the dirty with Mike after rescuing him from the desert and is later the target of the desert killer.
JACK DILLON: MICHAEL MCGOVERN
Trevor’s friend, Mike’s friend and rival in love for the fair hand – and other parts – of Helena. Hates flying, hates being scared by mad OAP’s who emerge from behind curtains in a thunderstorm. Slapped, insulted, fried and shot in that order.MAJOR DILLON: JOHN HAYTER
Leader of the gold expedition who is killed by a rifle toting pair of boots.JAN ZIEMAN: ERIC EGAN
The mad Proverbs-quoting Anglo-Boer War soldier who scares the crap out of Mike and Jack when they trespass on his cabin and go through his laundry basket without permission.DAN BEYERS: MR Z.OMBIE
Zieman’s erstwhile friend – keeper of the treasure in a desert cave which preserves what is left of him, a rather magnificent machine gun and a pile of boxes containing an at first useless and then rather useful treasure. Crack shot with said machine gun.LESSONS LEARNED
South African zombies rock, man. They can’t move but they sure do rock.
If you feel the sun’s too hot, you shouldn’t have touched it.
Misquoting the book of Proverbs can land you in trouble.
Cigarette cases can throw you off course in a desert.
Useless lead can sometimes be very useful indeed.
Some bosses are more concerned with their planes than their employees.
The best thing to do in a desert when the spotter plane comes looking for you is to hide.
Giving your employer the two-fingered salute is not advisable for good job growth.
Some films are just creepier in black and white.
A yawn predicts trouble to come.
Never call your boss’ secretary ‘Old Saddlebags’.
Soap and pee are useful in repairing a car.QUOTES
Mike: “That man wasn’t born, he escaped!”
Jack: “It’s a diary. Belonged to a man called Dan Beyers.”
Mike: “Cheerio, saddlebags.”
Jan Zieman: “The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them as they refuse to do judgment. The ways of men are froward and strange, but as to the pure, his work is right.”
Mike: “And you can take your job and shove it up your……”
Karl: “He doesn’t seem to like you, Gregory. I can’t imagine why. Do you know he could tear a man in half if I would let him?”
Mike: “It’s lead. Useless lead.”
Jan Zieman: “Beyers has it. He has it all. He’s keeping it for me. He’ll never find it. Never. Never.”
Mike: “Hello angel.. Where the hell am I?”
Mike: “This gun’s in a remarkable state of preservation. Must be the dry heat in here.”
Karl: “Maria? Where is Maria? Where are the traitors, where are the police, where are they?”
Mike: “Jan Zieman?”
Helena: “Mike, take me home.”
Surveyor: “Behind you, you idiot!”STUFF TO LOOK OUT FOR:
00:49: That plane seems to have crashed before.
02:50: Nice theme tune: better than the themes for Midnight
and Laser Mission
09:30: The sun’s hot? Well, you shouldn’t have touched it.
10:17: Why the hell is he hiding from the plane sent to find him?
11:23: Up yours, I’m the director’s nephew.
11:58: Ah, the secretary that failed to recognize George Harrison in A Hard Day’s Night
12:29: That nice city’s good residents will most assuredly give you a kick up the bum for that pismonounciation.
19:27: Ooh: someone get me an aspirin. Too much blood in my alcohol stream.
21:23: I think he’ll be looking for work soon.
22:55: You live where? Oh, there where they have the koala bear racing. Come naked.
30:42: Whoa: sh*t the bed!
31:07: He’s quoting from the book of Proverbs if I’m not mistaken.
35:25: Whose foots are those?
37:44: When I close my eyes, oi can’t see…..
41:01: Idiot male chauvinist pig……
50:38: Now which leg am I supposed to be limping with again?
51:12: These boots are made for killing……
56:54: So that was the #1 plan then…
1:01:46: RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A FRIEND OF MINE!
1:24:03: Zombie: “Hey guys, what’s going on?”
1:24:48: No, that machine gun came from the Johannesburg War Museum, that’s why it’s in such a good condition. www.ditsong.org.za/militaryhistory.htm THE PLOT
Mike Gregory, a crackerjack / wise ass pilot with a Johannesburg based mining company is taking a short cut over the Kalahari desert when, after a jaw-cracking yawn, his aeroplane’s engine cuts out and he crashes, killing both the plane and the camera in the process of crash landing.
In the tradition of Flight of the Phoenix, Sands of the Kalahari, Dirkie / Lost in the Desert
and Kevin Costner’s Waterworld
, he finds himself at the mercy of the desert and dumb ass writers of film reviews who conveniently choose to forget that Waterworld
contains no desert, other than a few scraps of dessert.
After hiding from the spotter plane sent to find him, Mike is rescued by a surveying group who, together with the director’s nephew, are attempting to count all the grains of sand in the desert and winds up in the care of a German miner and his lonely wife, the former with a snarling dog and the latter with a burning desire to ride the American’s prospecting tool.
On arrival back in JoHANnesburg – as it is falsely pronounced in the film – Mike loses his job by telling his inconsiderate boss – who is far more concerned with the loss of his company’s aeroplane than with the welfare of his employee - where to go, how far to go and what to do with himself when he gets there. Later, he is contacted by a Major Dillon who convinces him to lead an expedition back to the desert to find the old ox wagon and dem dry bones in the area where he pranged his aeroplane.
Sorry: I forgot to mention the things Mike found in the desert, didn’t I?
The team consists of Major Dillon, his adopted daughter Helena, Mike and a friend of Trevor’s named Jack who spends the rest of the film being angry with Mike, angry with flying in a plane when he hates flying, angry with Helena for having eyes for Mike, angry with Trevor for writing this review and angry with the old prospector / Boer War veteran Jan Zieman for giving him a major scare and fouling his underpants.
The team sets out for the desert, meeting up with Karl Du Val and his wife and taking up residence in an abandoned, roofless, windowless house in the desert, accessible to no one except the odd killer who shoots at them one night, messing up their Jeep – and killing Dillon while he was supposed to be on guard.
It is now clear who the killer is as the gold lust and the quest for the precious metal plus clean underpants has driven him crazy – Trevor!
Du Val and Maria – now revealed to be Jan Zieman’s daughter – capture Mike and Helena after killing Jack and force the pair to take them to where Mike first spotted the wagon and the remains of the animals. Early the next morning, they attempt escape, shooting DuVal’s dog and leaving Maria to the mercies of her crazed husband who tells her he loves her and then proves it with a bullet.
Mike and Helena stumble across South Africa’s first cinematic zombie – a machine gun toting rotting corpse guarding boxes of reserve Armageddon underpants – and the corpse does them both a favor by accidentally shooting the maniacal DuVal, sending him tumbling out of the cave, with no stinky exploding rat to save him this time.
I don’t have many people in my life – past or present – who inspired me, other than my parents who dragged me into a horrible place called THE CINEMA when I was seven, a college teacher who encouraged me to ignore the nay-sayers in my life, the cinematographer Vincent G Cox ASC, the writer and filmmaker Jans Rautenbach and the writer and director of this film, the late David Millin ASC – the first African filmmaker to be awarded the American Society of Cinematographers’ highest honor.
David began his career as a cameraman for the African Mirror
newsreel which ran from 1913 to 1984 and later graduated to feature films first as a cinematographer in films such as The Cape Town Affair
and Killer Force
then later as a director of note in tough action films such as Seven Against The Sun, The Second Sin, Majuba, Shangani Patrol, Die Banneling
[The Exile], Die Voortrekkers
[The Pathfinders] and this production which, in an odd way, can be labeled South Africa’s first zombie genre film.
The DVD sleeve notes read like this:The sky lights up……………..the desert comes alive……………on a search for hidden millions…………………….!!
During the Anglo-Boer War, a team of soldiers are sent with a mother lode of South African gold into the desert to escape the clutches of the British ~ the team are issued with orders to guard the gold with their lives. One of the team is driven insane by the terrors of the desert and the other stays with the gold. Forever. Sixty years later, terror and death again stalk the Kalahari Desert as an aeroplane crash lands in the middle of nowhere and the pilot has to struggle to survive the elements and the odds of getting out of the desert alive and unharmed. The elements: cold, heat, dust and exhaustion. The odds for his survival: nil. The odds against his survival: 100%.
What are the odds of him discovering the horrifying secrets that the Kalahari Desert has kept hidden these many years? And who is the maddened killer who stalks the desert, slaughtering all those who would dare to ride the high desert winds and come between the killer and his gold lust?
Yikes: who the hell wrote that crap?
Probably by someone who might perhaps have seen the film at least fifty times, got a major scare in front of the viewing public when he first saw it and who claims to be a South African film historian and archivist.
Based on the novel North of Bushman’s Rock
by George Harding, this action adventure thriller film takes a – sometimes not so serious – look at an expedition sent to locate a mother-lode of Anglo-Boer gold secreted in the desert. The disparate group is made up of several people including one who is – oops – a cold blooded killer.
Great performances and memorable cinematography and music complement this film: Any complaints about it? I guess the only one I have is that it should have been filmed in black and white instead of color as the film is very creepy should you choose to turn the color off.