Film: 3636

History | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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Historical reconstruction of the important one week journey of Mary Kingsley in West Africa in 1893. David Attenborough introduces her life as the daughter of George Kingsley, himself an explorer and natural history expert, and the neice of Charles Kingsley, author of The Waterbabies. After her parents both died within a few weeks of each other when she was 30, she was free to travel.

Mary in a homestead examines a insect specimen. An African witch-doctor appears and calls for her to come with him. She follows him through the jungle to a native village. She gives the witch-doctor pills to give the sick woman that he is treating. The witch-doctor chants over the sick woman.

Mary followed her father's interest in primitive societies and decided to continue his work. Mary at an African market. She buys some fish. An African band, people sing. Mary decides to travel where no white person has gone before. She sets off to explore the region near the Ogowe River. The region is famous for the Fan tribe who live there are extremely vicious cannibals. Mary travels by canoe with 5 African guides. They catch fish with nets. Mary collects specimens of fish to send back to the British Museum as they are unknown species. They travel further by canoe and see some signs of human habitation. They go ashore and meet some of the villagers in the jungle. One of her guides has meet one of the villagers before but there is a tense scene as they do not know whether they will be welcomed or eaten. They are accepted. They are taken to a large busy village. Mary wants three guides. One of them says he was once a guide for a French soldier. Mary does not ask what happened to the soldier as there appears to be another villager wearing a military uniform.
Film ends.

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