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The Wilby Conspiracy
The Wilby Conspiracy
Actors: Sidney Poitier, Michael Caine, Nicol Williamson, Prunella Gee, Saeed Jaffrey
Director: Ralph Nelson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
PG     2004     1hr 45min

OscarĀ(r) winners* Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine ignite the screen as two very differentmen suddenly bound togetherand running for their livesin this 'suspenseful [and] politically pertinent (Los Angeles Times) chase t...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sidney Poitier, Michael Caine, Nicol Williamson, Prunella Gee, Saeed Jaffrey
Director: Ralph Nelson
Creators: Helmut Dantine, Martin Baum, Paul M. Heller, Stanley Sopel, Harold Nebenzal, Peter Driscoll, Rod Amateau
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/20/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Spanish, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

One Of the Best Pre-80's Anti-Appartheid Film!!
Hiram T. Kato | Ramah, New Mexico | 10/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It amazes me that so little attention has been paid to this witty adventure-drama. Created and made long before anti-apartheid struggle bacame "vogue" in the mainstream culture in mid-80's, it was rare insight that gave us the sinister faces of the dreaded South African sercret service, the "BOSS". Remember this was made long before "New South Africa". Long before the release of Nelson Mandela. Before Soweto and Biko murder!!"
Caine or Poitier enthusiasts may see something more here
jammer | Laramie, Wyoming United States | 02/08/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Based on Peter Driscoll's 1972 novel, this film is set in apartheid 1970-ish South Africa during the origins of anti-apartheid groups like the Black Congress movement, seeking to overthrow the government to achieve self-determination for the country's 18 million blacks (versus 3 million ruling whites).One always has to wonder about films where the viewpoint is so one-sided with few shades of grey. This film treads a fine line indeed between politically correct propaganda and a wheels-within-wheels conspiracy thriller. This reviewer's initial fears that the propaganda element would overwhelm other considerations diminished when the plot took some unexpected twists and ended with a flourish.Sidney Poitier is moderately successful in his characterization of a black who has been subdued and imprisoned by the contemptuous and repressive apartheid regime. Years of forced subservience (and his survival of them) have made his external persona almost stoic. Yet behind this apparent stoicism, he seethes with hatred and works for the total destruction of the apartheid system. Opening the film, the authorities mysteriously release him from prison. The mystery compounds when the authorities fail to re-arrest him despite any number of infractions (trumped-up or otherwise), choosing rather to follow him.A young Michael Caine plays - Michael Caine, dragged in by accident for the ride and implicated by events. The other performances are routine excepting Major Horn (Nicol Williamson) and his side-kick Van Heerden (Ryl De Gooyer), as the arrogant, menacing and sadistic pursuing agents from the Bureau of State Security. These two never miss an opportunity to threaten and denigrate those who either cross their path or try to frustrate their curious agenda. Despite their limited screen time, Wiliamson and De Gooyer nevertheless bring something extra to their portrayals. The original 1974 cinematography was apparently quite good, as the (Kenya) scenery is beautiful. The DVD picture is sufficient for enjoying the film; but purists will notice that it is fuzzy and the colors are washed out, so no re-mastering or other significant picture restoration was attempted. Sound is in the same category. The DVD keep case is fine. Be advised the film is mostly for Caine or Poitier collectors. For others it is little more than a couple hours' entertainment."
Enjoyable, mostly forgotten thriller from 70's
Benjamin O. Simmons | Kansas City, Missouri United States | 11/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Title: "The Wilby Conspiracy"
Released: 1975
Rated: PG
Running Time:1 hour and 41 minutes
Directed by: Ralph Nelson
Starring: Sidney Poitier-as Shack Twala
Michael Caine-as Jim Keogh
Nicol Williamson-as Major Horn
Prunella Gee-as Rina van Niekirk
Rutger Hauer-as Blane
Rijk de Gooyer- as van Heerden

This is a good little movie about Poitier and Caine fleeing South African police while being tailed by South African State Security Bureau agents (Williamson and Gooyer). The film begins with Poitier being released from prison (having just served 10 years for political activism against the apartheid government) through the efforts of his lawyer (Gee)after a hearing in the South African Supreme Court in Capetown. Immediately following his release, Poitier, Gee and Caine-who plays Gee's boyfriend, a British mining engineer-decide to go to her office to celebrate. En route, they are stopped at a police checkpoint and Poitier is assaulted by the two officers. Gee comes to his aid and is in turn assaulted, which leads Caine to become involved. The policemen are seriously injured and Poitier and Caine decide to head for a safehaven in Johannesberg, 900 miles away.
Little do the duo know that Poitier's release and subsequent ease in evading the police are the result of the Security Bureau's intervention. It seems that the Bureau want to follow Poitier in the hopes that he will lead them to Wilby, the leader of the anti-apartheid forces. What follows is an entertaining chase across South Africa and a related quest for missing diamonds which all lead to a violent finale (despite its PG rating).
Poitier and Caine are great in the primary roles. They have to rely on each other, while not exactly always getting along. The movie is further helped by a strong supporting cast, including Gee and Williamson (in a standout performance as the lead Bureau agent following the fugitives). Rutger Hauer has a small role as Gee's estranged bush pilot husband.
The movie, which is based on the novel of the same name by Peter Driscoll, was filmed in Kenya and at Pinewood Studios in England. I recommend this film to fans of Poitier and Caine, as well as anyone looking for a good 1970's thriller/action movie.

Murder, stolen diamonds, terrorism and fugitives on the run
Kali | United Kingdom | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When anti-apartheid activist Shack Twala (Sidney Poitier) is freed from prison after being acquitted on a charge of terrorism, he soon gets into trouble with the police who intend that his freedom is going to be very short lived.

In fact they intend that also will be very short lived too. Persuaded by his girlfriend who is a lawyer, British engineer Keogh (Michael Caine) helps Twala flee from a ruthless government official (Nicol Williamson) who is hell bent on Twala's distruction, and very soon both men become fugitives from the law.

Handcuffed together the men who at first dislike each other intensely, form a strong bond of friendship based on mutual respect and a desire to survive their ordeal.

Persis Khambatta of Star Trek the Movie fame plays the love interest for Twala, and there are more twists in the tale of this movie than you can shake a stick at.

Quite brutal at times, I flinched at the scene were Keogh is beaten during a brutal interogation, along with the murder of the sympathetic Scottish farmer who helps the fugititives also gives the film a sense of stark realism, portraying a time in which South Africa could get away with murder.

A surprisingly good film which has dated reasonably well, its not too cliched, the photography is cxcellent, it doesn't have a happy ending, and we are treated to early performances from the likes of Rutger Hauer and Saeed Jaffrey.

A stonking good film for a pop-corn and soda night in.