Cast & Crew
In French West Africa in 1912, Dan Rockland, a penniless American fortune hunter posing as a geologist, works for Kramer, a diamond tycoon and entrepreneur. Kramer's native employees find a huge diamond along the coastline, and Rockland, accompanied by his African companion, Matakit, proceeds by train to bring the gem to Kramer. Along the way they survive a dynamite explosion arranged by Capt. Karl Ludwig, Kramer's villainous security chief who is jealous of Rockland's good fortune and his courtship of Kramer's daughter, Erica. At a garden party given by Kramer to celebrate his acquisition, which is christened the "Southern Star," the lights suddenly go out. The diamond disappears, and Matakit is seen riding away on Kramer's pet ostrich. Because Rockland is suspected of complicity in the theft, Erica insists that he give chase and, furthermore, that he take her along since she is familiar with the bush country. Karl and his men follow close behind, intent on stealing the diamond themselves. Word of the theft quickly reaches the sinister Plankett, Kramer's former security chief who lost his position to Karl and swears revenge. Plankett captures Matakit and uses him as bait to trap Karl. The plan backfires, however; Karl gains the upper hand and uses Matakit to lure Rockland into a trap. With Erica's help, Rockland outwits his opponents and rescues Matakit as Karl is killed in a shootout. With the diamond returned, Kramer greets Rockland as an ideal prospective son-in-law. In the midst of the congratulations, Kramer's pet suddenly swallows a large object and bolts off to join a herd of other ostriches. Persuaded that the bulge in the bird's throat is the diamond, Kramer and Erica give chase on horseback--as Matakit opens his hand and shows Rockland the Southern Star.
National Ballet Of Senegal
While living in exile in London, author Andre Laurie, pseudonym for politician Paschal Grousset (1845-1909), wrote the original version of the book which was later published as The Southern Star Mystery (1884). Andre Laurie legally renounced title to the story, rewritten and published by Jules Verne. Andre Laurie and Jules Verne would collaborate on at least two other novels. It was a strange collaboration, Andre Laurie being politically a long way to the left of Jules Verne.
Location scenes filmed in Senegal. Opened in London in May 1969; Paris opening: February 1969 as L'étoile du sud. Filmed in French and English versions.