The Naked Prey is a American adventure film  written and directed by Cornel Wilde , who also stars in the leading role. Set in the South African veldt , the film's plot centers around a safari guide trying to survive in the harsh environment all the while trying to avoid death at the hands of vengeful African natives.
The story is loosely based on the experiences of American explorer John Colter. In colonial era South Africa, a professional safari guide leads two white men and their troupe on an elephant hunt through the African veldt.
When the group intrudes on a local tribe's territory, some natives accost them, expecting to be bought off with gifts. Although the guide advises his client to be courteous, warning "they could give us a bad time," the client refuses to offer anything and insults the natives, sending them away empty-handed. Later, the tribe returns en masse , captures the entire party, and puts the captives to death, using various cruel and unusual methods. One man is covered in clay and roasted alive on a spit; another is tarred, feathered, and trussed, then chased and killed by all the women.
The man who insulted the tribesmen is trapped in a ring of fire with a venomous snake. The guide is spared until the last. He is stripped naked and then an arrow is fired into the air. The guide is given a head start; he runs and once he passes the arrow, he is chased by one tribesman who must reach the arrow before the next tribesman can join in the hunt. His pursuer throws a spear at him and misses, which he uses to kill his pursuer and take his supplies.
The guide then flees, and a multi-day chase ensues. One by one, the pursuers fall; either killed by the guide or the ravenous wildlife. He eventually finds food and water, though initially forced to eat a snake after several failed hunts.
Eventually, he comes across a village and camps nearby, only to be awoken by the gunfire of slavers of African descent. Amidst the chaos of the melee, he meets an African girl who is hiding from the slavers. With the slavers closing in on their location, he runs out for the sake of diversion. He eventually escapes at a river, but nearly drowns in the process. Luckily, the girl from earlier finds him on the river bank and revives him. She travels with him for the next few days, and as they walk along, he sings a nineteenth-century drinking song, " Little Brown Jug ".
The child sings a song in her own language. They part ways near a village, and some time later the guide returns to a colonial fort just seconds ahead of his pursuers. As he reaches safety, the man turns and exchanges a salute with their leader. The Naked Prey was filmed on location in Southern Africa. The minimal dialog, richly realized African settings, and emphasis on making "the chase and violent combat along the way a subject unto itself, rather than the climax to a conventional story"  distinguish Naked Prey as an innovative and influential adventure film.
Robert Alden of The New York Times , reacting to the brutality of some of the early scenes, dismissed the film as "poor and tasteless motion-picture entertainment", but did acknowledge its "authentic African setting" and "effective use of tribal drums and native music. Other reviewers, however, were more enthusiastic. In Time , the film was described as "a classic, single-minded epic of survival with no time out for fainthearted blondes or false heroics" where "natives are not the usual faceless blacks but human beings whose capacity for violence the hero quickly matches.
Retrospectively, the film's reception has grown better. The soundtrack consists of African tribal chants, natural sounds, and occasional dialogue, in English and otherwise. There are no subtitles, and incidental music is mostly absent. It features Nguni tribal songs specifically recorded for the film. They called it Zeimers in Zambia and cast neighbor Mark Zimering in the lead role. The scenario of a man being pursued by a pack of warriors who set out, one by one, after he has reached the point where a loosed arrow fell was seen also in the film Run of the Arrow.
Likewise, Robert Redford 's movie Jeremiah Johnson has a similar plot line where Native American tribesmen give chase often, individually, to challenge Redford's character Jeremiah Johnson to duel to the death. Similarly, he signs off with the chief from a distance at the end of the movie. The character Jeremiah Johnson is loosely based on famous moutain man John Colter who reported an experience of being captured, then becoming naked human prey for Blackfeet Native Americans, in The Richard Connell short story The Most Dangerous Game with the theme of humans hunting humans for sport, has run through film adaptations, as early as In the first scene of the Mad Men season 5 episode, " Far Away Places ," Abe coaxes a distracted and reluctant Peggy to go see the film with him.
His pitch: "You're resisting a chance to see Cornel Wilde naked? I heard he wrestles a boa constrictor. Sounds pretty dirty. In the movie Where's Poppa?
In one mugging, the group of muggers refer to The Naked Prey as they strip him and then chase him. Garrett Morris plays one of the muggers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the film.
For other uses, see Naked Prey disambiguation. Theatrical release poster. English Afrikaans Nguni languages. British Board of Film Classification. October 19, Retrieved February 16, University Press of Kentucky. Turner Classic Movies. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved 2 November Retrieved 27 November Smithsonian Folkways.
British Film Institute. The Criterion Collection. Citadel Press, , p. Time , June 17, Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 23, Archived from the original on Retrieved The New York Times. Films directed by Cornel Wilde. Categories : films s adventure drama films American adventure drama films s chase films American chase films Films adapted into comics American films based on actual events Films directed by Cornel Wilde Films featuring hunters Films set in South Africa Films set in the 19th century Films shot in Zimbabwe American survival films Films about death games.