Killers of Kilimanjaro
Killers of Kilimanjaro - Film Poster.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed byRichard Thorpe
Screenplay byJohn Gilling
Based onstory by Cyril Hume and Richard Maibaum
from book African Bush Adventures by J. Hunter and Daniel P. Mannix
Produced byJohn R Sloane
Irving Allen
Albert R. Broccoli
StarringRobert Taylor
Anthony Newley
CinematographyTed Moore
Edited byGeoffrey Foot
Music byWilliam Alwyn
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • 1959 (1959)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Killers of Kilimanjaro is a 1959 British CinemaScope adventure film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Robert Taylor, Anthony Newley, Anne Aubrey and Donald Pleasence[1] for Warwick Films.

The film was originally known as Adamson of Africa.[2]

Main cast


Warwick Films had made three films in Africa, Safari, Zarak and Odongo. The movie was announced in July 1956 and inspired by the story of the Tsavo maneaters recounted in the 1954 book African Bush Adventures by J.A. Hunter and Daniel P. Mannix.[3] It was based on a story by Richard Maibaum and Cyril Hume. (Warwick also announced they would make a second African film, the musical The Golden Fiddle, which would ultimately not be made.)[4]

A screenplay was done by Peter Viertel, who had worked on The African Queen, and written a novel of the experiences called White Hunter, Black Heart. In September 1957 Alan Ladd, who had made three films for Warwick, was the announced as male lead – it was meant to be part of a six-picture deal between Ladd and Warwick worth $2 million that also included The Man Inside and It's Always Four O'Clock.[5]

In the final event Ladd made no further films for Warwick - the lead role went to Robert Taylor. Taylor signed in January 1959 at which time the film was called African Bush.[6] Co-stars Anthony Newley and Anne Aubrey were under contract to Warwick, and had just made Idol on Parade for the company.[7]

In February 1959 Taylor left for Moshi, Tanganyika.[8] That was the same location used for Mogambo and Tarzan's Greatest Adventure.[9] Filming was completed by April.[10]


The film's title was changed to Killers of Kilimanjaro. This upset Chief Thomas Marealle of the Chagga tribe, on whose lands the film was shot, and he made an official complaint.[11] Mount Kilimanjaro lies about 125 kilometres (78 mi) west of Tsavo in Tanzania.

The Monthly Film Bulletin said "enthusiasts for screen slaughter should be amply entertained."[12]

The New York Times called it "a compendium of jungle cliches".[13]

According to Jeffrey Richards, movies such as Killers of Kilimanjaro pushed the narrative that the British were not in East Africa to further their own ends, but instead perpetuated the myth that they were there to protect the natives from the evil Arab slavers.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | KILLERS OF KILIMANJARO (1959)". Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  2. ^ ""KILLERS" KILL THE CHIEF'S ENTHUSIASM: BRITISH FILM TITLE"". The Guardian. 1 September 1959. p. 11.
  3. ^ Advertisement The Spectator; London Vol. 193, Iss. 6593, (Nov 5, 1954): 559.
  4. ^ OSCAR GODBOUT (17 July 1956). "WARWICK TO MAKE 2 FILMS IN AFRICA: Company Plans Productions of 'Adamson of Africa' and 'Golden City,' a Musical M-G-M Misses One of Four". The New York Times. p. 19.
  5. ^ Schallert, Edwin (16 September 1957). "Alan Ladd Gets Huge England Deal; Hunting Film Stars Prime Trio". Los Angeles Times. p. C11.
  6. ^ "London". Variety. 21 January 1959. p. 86.
  7. ^ IDLE ON PARADE makes Laughter in the Cinema Picture Show; London Vol. 72, Iss. 1880, (Apr 11, 1959): 5.
  8. ^ "Taylor Off to Africa," The Washington Post and Times-Herald, 15 Feb 1959: A5.
  9. ^ MILTON BRACKER (22 March 1959). "WARUSHA, WACHAGGA & 'ADAMSON': Native Spear Carriers Prove Shrewd Actors In African Movie". The New York Times. Moshi, Tanganyika.. p. X7.
  10. ^ Of Local Origin New York Times 13 Apr 1959: 36.
  11. ^ "KILLERS KILL THE CHIEF'S ENTHUSIASM: British film title". The Guardian. London (UK). 1 September 1959. p. 11.
  12. ^ KILLERS OF KILIMANJARO Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 26, Iss. 300, (Jan 1, 1959): 150.
  13. ^ Robert Taylor in 'Killers of Kilimanjaro' Archer, Eugene. New York Times 7 Apr 1960: 46.
  14. ^ Jeffrey Richards, Visions of Yesterday (London: Routledge, 1973), p. 149.