Italy/West Germany, 1975, 98 minutes, Colour.
Giuliano Gemma, Ursula Andress, Jack Palance.
Directed by Michele Lupo.
Africa Express is a kind of spaghetti African adventure. It stars Giuliano Gemma, a regular in many of the spaghetti westerns, as a trader in Africa with a pet chimp. He encounters the glamorous Ursula Andress and the villainous Jack Palance.
The film is aimed at a very wide audience, especially for children with the animals. However, it is also amusing for adults who accompany the children. The film is geared to an international audience, especially Americans since the hero has a dream to get enough money to buy a gas station in Detroit!
1. For whom was the film made, entertainment value, style?
2. Why do audiences enjoy 'comic strip' films? This film as a ‘spaghetti safari’?
3. The importance of Africa, widescreen, terrain, animals and atmosphere?
4. The Africa Express itself and the indications of trade. travel, problems, personalities?
5. John as a credible American hero in the African bush? His monkey, gambling, doing the rounds, dangers? His ambitions for Detroit? Saving the money? His response to Madeleine in danger? Fascination for her? Antipathy towards Preston?
6. The drama of the train hold-up and Madeleine's escape?
7. How credible a character was Madeleine? A glamour girl spy, dressed as a nun and the irony of this? John helping her, her escape, their escape together, the ivory hunters and danger? His not going with her at the end?
8. Preston as a conventional villain with all his henchmen?
9. The portrayal of the various crooks and the agents?
10. The religious atmosphere with the mission, the nuns and the priest?
11. The humour of the film with the fat showgirls, the crash into the river, the talking statue?
12. The finale with John at the Award, and his decision to go, the train remaining stationary?
13. The contribution of the monkey to the humour?
14. The appeal of the film as action drama, 70s style, the atmosphere of realism?