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Stanley and Livingstone

(1939 b 100')

En: 7 Ed: 8

 

This drama tells how a reporter found a famous missionary in the heart of Africa.

In 1870 reporter Henry Stanley (Spencer Tracy) and Jeff Slocum (Walter Brennan) return from Indians in Wyoming the government could not contact. New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett (Henry Hull) refuses to sell and sends Stanley to find missionary Dr. Livingstone in Africa to prove he is alive. On a boat in the Red Sea Jeff and Stanley meet London Globe publisher Lord Tyce (Charles Coburn), who printed that Livingstone is dead after his son's expedition. On Zanzibar Stanley calls on John Kingsley (Henry Travers) and meets his daughter Eve Kingsley (Nancy Kelly) and recovering Gareth Tyce (Richard Greene). Kingsley says that Livingstone was a great man and offers Stanley a pass; but Eve changes his mind. Eve blames Livingstone for aging her father. Eve warns determined Stanley and hands him a pass. Kingsley gives Stanley advice and a letter for Livingstone, and Eve wishes Stanley well.

Stanley's expedition begins March 21, 1871, and they see animals. In July bearers start dying and deserting. Stanley asks a slave-trader the way to Tanganyika. Natives ambush them with arrows, and Stanley shoots an archer. Hundreds of natives attack, but Stanley starts a fire wall. In October it rains, and Stanley becomes delirious with fever. He learns of a white doctor and pushes on for fifteen days. Dr. David Livingstone (Cedric Hardwicke) welcomes Stanley and says he won't go back but was hoping for help. Stanley hits Bongo for stealing, but Livingstone asks him not to strike Africans. Livingstone leads Africans in singing "Onward Christian Soldiers." Livingstone treats a boy's foot with Stanley's help. Livingstone shows Stanley a map of rivers, and they tour villages; but Livingstone becomes ill. Stanley says he has quinine. Stanley proposes going to the source of the Nile with Livingstone, who says they cannot go for six months. Livingstone sends guides to help Stanley return.

In London Stanley is greeted by Eve and her husband Gareth. Eve says that Stanley has changed and is like Livingstone. Gareth takes Stanley to the Royal Geographical Society with his proof from Livingstone. Scientists challenge his letters and maps, and Lord Tyce accuses Stanley of fraud. Stanley calls Livingstone great and says he grew up in poverty in England, asking them to help Livingstone. A majority votes against Stanley; but John Gresham reports that Livingstone's body was sent to Zanzibar, and Livingstone's letter asked Stanley to carry on for him. Lord Tyce admits his error. Stanley says good-bye to Eve, and Stanley goes to continue Livingstone's work in Africa.

The Wyoming incident is fictitious; Bennett was in Paris when he sent Stanley to Africa. Although Stanley did not become a missionary, he made great contributions to the exploration of Africa. This drama well portrays his determination and the humanitarian Dr. Livingstone.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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