Diamonds of Kilimandjaro Blu Ray Review (MVD Classics)
Diamonds of Kilimandjaro (aKa Les Diamants du Kilimanjaro, El Tesoro De La Diosa Blanca, Mondo Cannibale 4, Naked under Savages, & The Treasure of the White Goddess) is a 1983 exploitation film written, produced, co-composed, cinematography, & directed by Jesús Franco (Count Dracula, Jack the Ripper, Golden Temple Amazons, She Killed in Ecstasy, & Vampyros Lesbos). It was produced by the infamous Eurociné (Zombie Lake, Exorcism, Oasis of the Zombies, & A Virgin Among the Living Dead). The original version was 83 minutes but it got censored in France so they had to shoot additional footage to complete the feature worldwide so multiple cuts of this production were made.
Many years before, an explorer Mr. De Winter (played by: composer Daniel White from The Diabolical Dr. Z, Daughter of Dracula, Golden Jail, & Revenge in the House of Usher) & his daughter Liana (played by: Katja Bienert from German Angst, Confessions of a Campus Virgin, Wicked Memoirs of Eugenie, & The Story of Linda) went missing. An expedition is in search of a treasure in captivity of a wild tribe in Africa lead by Payton (played by: Albino Graziani from Sinfonía Erótica, Pick-Up Girls, Night Has a Thousand Desires, & Oasis of the Zombies) & Fred Pereira (played by: Antonio Mayans from Cannibal Terror, Devil Hunter, The Dead, the Devil and the Flesh, A Dog Called… Vengeance, & A Town Called Hell). Liana saves them from being slaughtered by the vicious tribe which includes the sadistic Noba (played by: Aline Mess from Emmanuelle IV, Devil Hunter, That Night in Varennes, & Triangle of Venus).
The treasure hunters recognize their protector & go to her sick rich mother Hermine De Winter (played by: Lina Romay from Barbed Wire Dolls, Female Vampire, Die Marquise von Sade, & Women Behind Bars) to tell her that they think they found her missing daughter. She will pay anything to get her back! She sends family members Mathieu (played by: Olivier Mathot from Dirty Angel, Captive Women 4, Kiss me Killer, & The Sadist of Notre Dame) & Lita (played by: Mari Carmen Nieto from Alone Against Terror, Fury in the Tropics, Night Has a Thousand Desires, & Mansion of the Living Dead) plus jungle expert Rofo (played by: Javier Maiza from Oasis of the Zombies, I Do Not Forgive… I Kill!, & White Comanche). The three men fight over leadership on this expedition & the tension starts to build up. The greedy family members don’t want to bring back Liana so they can collect all the inheritance when her mother dies. Payton & Pereira’s true motivation is to collect the treasure that they couldn’t find before. Rofo is the only one that actually wants to complete the mission. The tribe & their mysterious Chief see them as threats to their land. Who will survive this trip into the jungle????
Diamonds of Kilimandjaro is one of Jesús Franco’s better efforts when it comes to writing. The screenplay makes more sense than your typical Eurociné production. It actually has various interesting sub plots to go with the exotic jungle locations. A good amount of Franco regulars are included in this cast so the performances are better than expected for this type of flick. One thing that surprised me about this feature was the lack of violence. It’s very tame considering it’s an exploitation film directed by the legendary Franco. Uncle Jess does deliver lots of sleaze here so that makes up for some of it. The tribe had a crazy look to them & I felt like they were underused for this. They were more in the background, it was a missed opportunity & a more savage approach would have really elevated everything. Besides that, I really enjoyed this & I thought it was a very entertaining experience. It makes a perfect double feature with MVD Classics other release Golden Temple Amazons. RECOMMENDED for Jeuss Franco, Exploitation, & Jungle flicks fans!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from MVD Classics! This 1080p (1.66:1) transfer is definitely a nice upgrade from the previous Shriek Show DVD release! This low budget film will never be reference quality but it’s the best it’s ever looked on home video! I will say the old stock footage used here looks pretty bad on blu ray & it’s a drastic quality change when it switches to those scenes. Luckily, it’s only a few quick shots so it’s not a big distraction. Also, I am not sure how it happened but a scene gets repeated two times in a row here. The English dub 2.0 stereo audio track is clean for the most part & Daniel White’s (The Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll, Tomb of the Pistolero, The Diabolical Dr. Z, & Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein) score sounds real good here! Franco kept busy on this production, he helped with the music for Diamonds of Kilimandjaro. During the first minute of the film, there’s audio issues for about 20 seconds then it sounds fine after that. It has a slipcover & there’s a few trailers from MVD but besides that there’s no extras on this disc. It’s awesome to see more Franco projects get blu ray treament. MVD Classics is a new label from the creator of the MVD Rewind Collection & MVD Marquee. I am looking forward to their upcoming releases especially if it’s more material like this. It’s available everywhere next week, check it out!!!!