Lead actor Wilde plays a character referred only as to as ‘man’ the head of a safari team that are taking a horrible trophy hunter (Gert van den Bergh) to shoot some elephants and his desire to get into the slave trade. When the hunter refuses to give tributes to a warrior tribe after strict instructions from Wilde several white members of the group are murdered and “man” is forced to run and battle for survival after the tribe chief sees his death as a sport for his expert hunters for the rest of the movie.
“The Naked Prey” through our PC enlightened times the depiction of the warrior tribe as vicious blood savages might put people off but they are shown as people that also have care & real emotion for fellow members particularly the moment we see one of them hacking at a tree in anger over discovering two bodies of his group we the audience might not be able to understand what they are saying but through their actions we can the gist of them as a team in humanised terms.
A standout touching sequence is after man is found at the bottom of a river by a very young native girl who tries in vain to awaken our lead there's tears in her eyes but he comes round a friendly relationship develops between them that's sadly comes towards the end of film & goes nowhere.
The dialogue is minimal after the opening but the soundtrack from creatures and drumming adds the richness of the cinematography of the multicolored landscape enhances the film's intensity. “Naked Prey” does have its problems especially the use of Umberto Lenzi type use of animal killing stock footage that abruptly at times cuts into the film and slows the action down.
This Dual format release through Eureka's “Masters Of Cinema” strand has excellent picture and audio quality for a location shot sometime pretentious action adventure from 50 years ago it's been brilliantly restored. The only extra feature apart from the trailer is a fascinating well researched interview with film historian Sheldon Hall who discusses Cornel Wilde’s career, Naked Prey’s very difficult production in which the director was hospitalised several,censorship/release issues it along with its common narrative traits with Jean Claude Van Damme’s “Hard Target” and the Mel Gibson directed “Apocalypto”
It’s a film that should been hunted out and rediscovered.