Mervyn Cowie

Name ID 1621

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Watt, Harry (Director) Where No Vultures Fly
Page Number: b
Extract Date: 1951


Encouraged by Hal Mason, Michael Balcon's production controller and trouble-shooter who had been at the Studios from almost the start of the post-Basil Dean regime, Harry Watt was sent to East Africa on a story finding trip. The result was Where No Vultures Fly based on the real-life memoirs of Mervyn Cowie, who had made a reputation as a conservationist. In the film Anthony Steel played a Kenyan game warden, Bob Payton, who, distressed and revolted by the constant attrition of African fauna, decides to set about establishing a national park in Kenya. Having taken over some thousand square miles of territory, he has to do battle with the ivory poachers and hostile tribes who have been enlisted in their support, before he realises his dream, a land 'Where No Vultures Fly', the Mt. Kilimanjaro Game Preserve Park.

Shot in Technicolor by Geoffrey Unsworth, with special wildlife photography by Paul Beeson, the film is a capable travelogue but, at 107 minutes, far longer than any Ealing film since Scott of the Antarctic, with flat spots that could have been eliminated by tighter editing. Dinah Sheridan performed gracefully as Mrs Payton, and Harold Warrender played a villain who meets his just desserts. But the film acted as a timely and resounding appeal on behalf of the wildlife preservation cause, and received the accolade of selection as the Royal Film Performance presentation of 1951, which ensured that its box-office receipts were handsome.

Extract´┐Ż George Perry: Forever Ealing.

Extract ID: 4294