This is a review of the MVD Classics Blu-ray release of Diamonds of Kilimandjaro.
Diamonds of Kilimandjaro is a 1983 film directed by Robert Young and starring Gene Hackman. The movie tells the story of an African-American professor who must travel to Africa in order to find his son, who has been kidnapped by rebels.
Jess Franco has never been regarded as a very talented director, and his work here is mediocre at best, but if nude females in tiny loincloths and sex in the jungle are your thing, you’ve just hit pay dirt.
Treasure seekers and mercenaries go to Africa’s jungles in search of gems… as well as a wild white girl who perished in an aircraft accident many years ago!
Following an aircraft accident in the Kilimandjaro jungle, a little girl and her Scottish uncle emerge from the fronds and are hailed as gods by the locals. Years later, the old Scotsman rules over a hamlet with his gun and his knowledge of the surrounding diamond mines. His niece Diana (Katja Bienert), who is topless and wields a machete, is regarded as the tribe’s leader. When the tribe apprehends a treasure seeker, they are about to behead him, but Diana intervenes and lets him go… without the diamonds. When he returns to civilization, he recounts the story of the white goddess who lives among the indigenous, and he is brought to Diana’s only surviving relative, a sick and dying old lady who never gives up hope of seeing her beloved Diana. The elderly lady employs a group of mercenaries to return to the forest and collect Diana, and they do locate her when they follow the treasure hunter’s locations, but she has no interest in returning with them since her life isn’t that bad: Running free, in command, and without any kind of civilized prejudice. But there is one subject about which she is curious: sex. She experiments with one of the mercenary in order to experience sex and intimacy (apparently the locals she rules over don’t interest her), but she is met with jealously and anger by her second-in-command, a native queen who is ready to behead white intruders. Will Diana achieve what she desires, or will the white hunters find the Kilimandjaro diamonds, causing her way of life to be forever disrupted?
Diamonds of Kilimandjaro, by exploitation master Jess Franco, is utter nonsense from beginning to end; it recalls the cheap pulp comics that have been sold in Mexican and European markets at magazine stands for decades, depicting nubile, nude damsels, lustful adventurers, and cannibals! The film, which is full of casual full-frontal nudity, sex, and machete-chopping locals, has some appeal (star Bienert was a minor when she produced it), but it’s also extremely junky, with clumsy continuity problems and warbling uneven sound and dubbing. Franco has never been regarded as a very talented director, and his work here is just mediocre at best, but if nude females in tiny loincloths and sex in the jungle are your thing, you’ve just hit pay dirt.
Diamonds of Kilandjaro was published on Blu-ray by MVD Classics, and although the image quality is excellent, the sound (particularly at the beginning) is at times awful. There are no extra features provided.