Monday, 14 November 2011


A similar kind of caper although one which was more inclined to take itself seriously is Mozambique a 1965 British Drama. As with the Tourist the aspect of the film which engages is the location shooting at the Victoria Falls and in Portugal who then managed the African country as a colony. It has to be said there is no rational justification for any of the action centring on the falls as the main action appears to centre on the Capital city which is in the far south of the country and smuggling to the island of Zanzibar which is off the coast of a neighbouring country to the far north. It is possible that the location of the hotel and the nightclub featured in the film was not in the capital city although it is unlikely there were two International airports in the country at that time.

The film is the story of an out of work pilot in Portugal since the aircraft he was flying crashed killing his passengers and where he was the only survivor. He is offered a job in Mozambique provided with a one way ticket and not told what his duties will be. Also on the same plane is a young and attractive singer also out of a job who has been offered a contract to sing at a night club again with only a one way ticket. Both are clearly desperate to have accepted the offer on this basis.

Prior to their departure a man is seen travelling down some steps and then is found murdered at the same time a number of children are also passing down the same steps. There is an important clue here which will escape most viewers unless they have some advanced insight into the story.

I cannot remember now why the pilot comes to the attention of the Portuguese authorities and in particular one police inspector but he does and it emerges that his interest is in the activities of the man who has hired the pilot and similar to the Tourist the interest is as much in the location of the ill gotten funds in a numbered account which it emerges the murdered man on the steps was carrying information in the attaché case.

In Mozambique where the main action takes places the pilot is surprised, rather than shocked, to find that his employer has died and that his widow, played by Hildegard Knef appears under the control of the mans chief assistant who in turn taken control of the nightclub and is assisted by a at least one heavy as well as other security personal.

There are various scenes at the night club which appears an extraordinary odd place filled with unhappy looking people who spend their time listening to acts or sitting in silence. We are treated to an African dance troupe and to various boring singers even by the standards of the day. This includes the new recruit although the contribution by Knef later in the film is worth attention and only underlines the gulf between her voice, the song and performance and that of everyone she followed.

Having said this about the club it is also used as a brothel where the singers are expected to sleep with customers under management arrangements. There is an Arab racketeer based in Zanzibar but with a penthouse in Park Lane who engages in white slaving kidnapping and rape. The new singer is duly kidnapped and carried off to Zanzibar after she has established a sexual relationship with the pilot who she turns to for protection.

He finds that his task is to fly a light plane involved in trafficking pharmaceutical products and as well as illegal drug substances. This leads him to accompanying the new boss to Zanzibar where he is able to rescue the singer and the three return to the private airfield used for the enterprise. However before arrival they have to take the plane down on a beach because of a clogged fuel line and after fixing decide to take a break at a beach spot for some distance away from where the lane has landed. When the couple return they find the new boss stabbed. They bring the body back with the plane only to find the police waiting and wanting to check for drugs. The two are taken into custody on suspicion for murder.

The senior police office from Portugal has arrived in order to pass to the widow the missing brief case which was subsequently found. It is at this point I cannot remember aspects of the plot which involves another character who the pilot has followed one night from the night club to a first floor apartment. The individual prevents the pilot from entering the apartment on the grounds he has a woman for the bar also in the building living there. Later the pilot discovers that living in the apartment is a man who these days we will describe as a height challenged individual, known in the day as a dwarf. He had been employed to kill the agent with the brief case in Portugal and has merged in with the other children who with amazing coincidence had gone down the steps at the same time. He had also hidden in the plane undetected on the journey to Zanzibar and having doctored the engine intended to kill the new head of the enterprise.

This individual was acting for the widow who he now double crosses and takes off on road on his way over the border via the crossing at the Victoria Falls stopping off at the Victoria Falls hotel for breakfast and room to freshen up. The Portuguese police man accompanies the pilot in a borrowed plane in pursuit of the car and sets down at the nearest airport not without great views of the Falls beforehand. The adventure appears to end at a bridge at the Falls from which there is a fight with the death of the villain. On return to the capital the widow is arrested as the instigator of the deaths in order to gain control of the funds of her husband. The pilot and the singer are able to go off into the sunset as a couple.

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