Another mish mash of jungle footage that somehow mutated into a Jess Franco film, Diamonds of Kilimandjaro is, like Golden Temple Amazons made up of footage shot by Franco and by other Eurocine employees which was then edited into a semi-coherent though thoroughly horrible film to cash in on the Italian cannibal film craze of the time.
The film begins with a rather unconvincing plan crash deep in the heart of the jungle. A young girl named Diana (lovely German sexpot Katja Bienert) and her stepdad (Daniel White) survive the crash and she's raised around a tribe of natives who see her as their 'white goddess.' Diana and her pa play up on this, figuring that they could be a lot worse off, all things considered.
Cut back to civilization where Diana's mother (played by Lina Romay who sports some unbelievably bad make up) is on her death bed. Before she kicks off into the great beyond, she wants to ensure her daughter is okay so she hires a pair of tough guys to head on into the thick of the jungle to bring her back alive and kicking. Diana's Uncle Mathieu (Oliver Mathot) and his pretty wife (Ana Stern) are going to accompany them because, as Mathieu puts it, he is her uncle after all. What Diana's mother doesn't know is that he and his wife secretly plan to off Diana in the jungle to make sure that she doesn't make it back alive so that they can be the inheritor's of her vast riches.
The four of them team up with their jungle guide, Fred (Albino Graziani), and head off on their mission but once they arrive they find that they have to face off against some dangerous natives and the dangers of the cruel and careless jungle itself!
While not a horrible, if slightly unoriginal, premise for a jungle adventure films, Diamonds Of Kilimandjaro just doesn't have what it takes to work. While some of the footage does a great job of capturing the mood and atmosphere of the savage locale, other scenes are sloppily put together and carelessly shot which gives the film a very, very uneven feel that definitely does not work in its favor. While some of the shots of the female lead running around in her birthday suit are mildly erotic, again, we've got a lot of sloppy nudity and poorly shot sex scenes to come along and ruin that fun as well.
Also worth pondering is the very title of the film. It doesn't take place in Kilimandjaro and it doesn't have anything to do with diamonds. All the movie really has going for it is the plentiful nudity of the cute Katja Bienert and a couple of unintentionally funny moments. It doesn't have enough good sex in it to work that way, the action isn't interesting or exciting, and the suspense is non-existent. The lack of budget shows in the sets and the props used throughout the film (the native village is just sad and that opening plane crash it painful to watch not because of the horror that the characters are going through but because it's so poorly done) and that doesn't help matters much either.
The 1.66.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks pretty decent, aside from some slightly battered stock footage inserts. Colors are nice and crisp and the print damage that is there is quite minimal. There's a little bit of black dirt noticeable on the print in a few scenes but that's the worst of it. There aren't any problems with edge enhancement or mpeg compression worth noting either.
The film comes with your choice of an English or French Dolby Digital Mono track, though sadly, the French track doesn't come with any subtitle options for some reason. Oops. The English dub, while it sounds okay, is poorly done in that the voices don't suit the characters, again, which hurts the film. Overall though, the track is clean and clear and there aren't any major problems with it aside from one or two scenes that have a tiny bit of hiss in the background.
Once again, as with Golden Temple Amazons, Eurocine's Daniel Lesoeur is on hand for an interview. He talks about the history of the company and some of the locations that the film was shot on but once again avoids talking much about the film itself or about Franco as a (sort of) director on the project.
Aside from that, there's a nice still gallery, a trailer for the feature, and trailers for other Shriek Show releases.
While the DVD looks and sounds decent enough, Diamonds Of Kilimandjaro isn't going to appeal to any but the hardest of Franco fans, and even then, you're pushing it. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.