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Wilby Conspiracy, The (UA 1975, Michael Caine, Sidney Poitier)



Based on Peter Driscoll’s novel of the same name, this slick and intelligent Apartheid chase drama stars Sidney Poitier as a black Bantu political activist, on the run from Cape Town to sanctuary in Johannesburg. Reluctantly along for the ride is his white ally, a mining engineer played by Michael Caine. Hot on their tails is a racist Afrikaaner cop (Nicol Williamson), hoping the duo will inadvertently lead him to bigger fish: the eponymous Wilby’. Suspenseful, with good chemistry between the leads, and Williamson makes a formidable, and scary, adversary.’

Ironically The Wilby Conspiracy casts Sidney Poitier as a man on the run from the law, accompanied by a white accomplice (Michael Caine). Eighteen years earlier Poitier appeared in another drama with a similar premise: In The Defiant Ones (1958) Tony Curtis played Poitier’s fellow convict escapee.

production details
USA | United Artists | 105 minutes | 1975

Director: Ralph Nelson
Producer: Martin Baum
Editor: Ernest Walter
Music: Stanley Myers
Script: Rodney Amateau, Harold Nebenzal
Art Direction: John Hoesli
Cinematographer: John Coquillon

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