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Film / The Naked Prey

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A 1966 adventure thriller directed by and starring Cornel Wilde.

Set in colonial Africa, the film stars Wilde as a hunting guide known only as the Man, who is kidnapped along with his Great White Hunter clients and Token Black fellow guide by a local African tribe. After everyone else is killed in horrific ways, the Man is set loose from the village to be hunted and killed for the tribe's hunters' amusement. However, his craftiness and deadliness are more than they're expecting...

An artifact of a pre-political correct era with some very dated views of Africa, the film nonetheless features some stunning photography and even a few positive messages about interracial harmony. Also of note is that the main character hardly talks and the African dialogue is untranslated, giving the film a very primal focus on the horrific nature of the hunt as opposed to dialogue.

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Mel Gibson's Apocalypto has more than a few plot similarities.


Examples

  • A Handful for an Eye: The Man throws some dust into the face of a tribal warrior he's been dueling with, so he could get the advantage over his opponent by blinding him.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The tribe gets creative in the ways it executes their European prisoners, though Token Black members of their party are given merciful swift deaths by comparison.
  • Determinator:
    • The Man definitely counts. He refuses to lie down and die.
    • Likewise, the hunters continue to pursue him, days and days away from their village like they're the human versions of a Super-Persistent Predator.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Played with. It's clear that the tribesmen don't seriously consider The Man to be a worthy game at first and instead just want to kill him on the run for the fun of it. When he in turn kills some of the hunters, they begin seriously pursuing him, but out of a desire for revenge, not for a trophy.
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  • Mighty Whitey: Wilde's character qualifies, but not in a too obnoxious way. He has clearly been a wilderness guide in the region for a while so his skills in surviving are not completely unrealistic.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: One of the hunters tries to invoke this after the Man had made plenty of headway and has already killed some of the hunters. After giving a seeming derisive remark to his companions and marching off, he's killed for abandoning the hunting party.
  • Stern Chase: Pretty much the entire movie.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Supposed based on an incident that occurred to John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. He was pursued by Blackfoot Indians in Wyoming in 1809, killing one and surviving in the wild before making it to a fort at Little Big Horn. Wilde transported the story from the American frontier to Africa and cranked up the body count.
  • Worthy Opponent: Although he spends the film in a narrow-minded, rage-filled pursuit of the Man, the leader of the hunters exchanges a brief salute to the Man once he reaches the fort at the end of the movie.


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