6.4/10
1,579
29 user 11 critic

The Wilby Conspiracy (1975)

A black anti-Apartheid activist and a British engineer are forced to run from South African Secret Police.

Director:

Ralph Nelson

Writers:

Rod Amateau (screenplay), Harold Nebenzal (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sidney Poitier ... Shack Twala
Michael Caine ... Jim Keogh
Nicol Williamson ... Major Horn
Prunella Gee ... Rina Van Niekirk
Saeed Jaffrey ... Anil Mukerjee
Persis Khambatta ... Persis Ray
Rijk de Gooyer ... Van Heerden (as Ryk De Gooyer)
Rutger Hauer ... Blane Van Niekirk
Patrick Allen ... District Commissioner
Joe De Graft Joe De Graft ... Wilby Xaba
Archie Duncan Archie Duncan ... Gordon
Abdulla Sunado Abdulla Sunado ... Village Headman
Helmut Dantine ... Prosecuting Counsel
Peter Pearce Peter Pearce ... Highway Policeman
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Storyline

Having spent ten years in prison for nationalist activities, Shack Twala is finally ordered released by the South African Supreme Court, but he finds himself almost immediately on the run after a run-in with the Police. Assisted by his lawyer Rina Van Niekirk and visiting British engineer Jim Keogh, he heads for Capetown where he hopes to recover a stash of diamonds, meant to finance revolutionary activities, that he had entrusted to a dentist before his incarceration. Along the way, they are followed by Major Horn of the South African State Security Bureau, and it becomes apparent that he has no intention of arresting them until they reach their destination. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the fight for freedom, you have to break all the rules. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Wilby-Verschwörung See more »

Filming Locations:

Kenya See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of this movie is set in South Africa, in Johannesburg and Cape Town, but due to the political sensitivity of anti-Apartheid, no attempt was made to film there. See more »

Goofs

While struggling with Persis, Shack was glazed by a bullet on the right side but it miraculously healed in the next scene. See more »

Quotes

Jim Keogh: The police sure are busy tonight.
Shack Twala: In a police state, the police are always busy.
See more »

Connections

Featured in In Darkest Hollywood: Cinema and Apartheid (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

All the Wishing in the World
(uncredited)
Music by Stanley Myers
Lyrics by Don Black
Sung by Diane Solomon
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"In A Police State, The Police Are Always Busy"
4 July 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I would really have liked to have given The Wilby Conspiracy a higher rating than I did. But unfortunately a really huge and ridiculous error was made in telling the tale.

Due to political pressure brought to bear from various world human rights activists, black nationalist Sidney Poitier is freed by the apartheid South African government. On the way to celebrate, Poitier, his lawyer Prunella Gee and her boyfriend Michael Caine get into a mêlée with South African police and after assaulting a pair of them have to flee.

But it turns out the government in freeing Poitier in the first place has a whole other agenda. Poitier also has something else in mind, to get a stash of diamonds hidden years ago in a robbery to aid the African National Congress.

During the course of fleeing Poitier seeks the aid of an Indian dentist played by Saeed Jeffrey and his assistant Persis Khambatta. While Poitier is hidden away in a modern day priest-hole he takes Khambatta in there with him and while the South African Security are even outside within a few feet of him, Poitier and Khambatta are doing the horizontal mambo. Now granted Poitier had been in prison for 10 years and he was understandably ready to go, still I found it a bit much. The steamy sex scene definitely sold a lot movie tickets, but it was awkwardly planted into the story.

Acting honors in this film go to Nicol Williamson as the South African Security Police Chief Horne. He is a chillingly evil man, resolute in defense of the apartheid society and a bigoted product of that same society. Williamson is living proof of what Martin Luther King said about racism being as toxic to the perpetrator as to the victim.

The Wilby in the Wilby Conspiracy is a Nelson Mandela like figure who is in exile in neighboring Botswana. He only enters the film at the very end and in a surprising way.

The Wilby Conspiracy other than that tacked on sex scene done for box office dollars is a great portrait of the last days of the apartheid society of South Africa. It should be seen for Nicol Williamson's portrayal alone.


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