Bwana Devil (1952) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bwana Devil (1952)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Historically important as one of the first 3-D feature film- the first was the 1922 film Power of Love- Bwana Devil is an otherwise amateurish film, redeemed somewhat by good performances and a reasonably interesting script (by director Arch Oboler). The thinnish story is built around some authentic African footage lensed by Oboler in 1948. Based on fact, the plot concerns two ferocious lions, whose man-eating propensities halted progress on the building of an East African railroad. Robert Stack, Nigel Bruce and Barbara Britton appear in the dramatized sequences, which look like they were filmed for an entirely different movie. The main attraction of Bwana Devil, then and now, is its gimmicky 3-D photography, replete with thrown spears and leaping lions assaulting the camera. Industry reaction to Bwana Devil resulted in the now-famous advertising blurb "What do you want? A good picture, or a lion in your lap?"
Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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Robert Stack
as Bob Hayward
Barbara Britton
as Alice Hayward
Nigel Bruce
as Dr. Angus McLean
Ramsay Hill
as Maj. Parkhurst
Ramsey Hill
as Major Parkhurst
Paul McVey
as Commissioner
Hope Miller
as Portuguese girl
John Dodsworth
as Sir William Drayton
Patrick O'Moore
as Ballinger
Pat O'Moore
as Ballinger
Pat Aherne
as Latham
Bhogwan Singh
as Indian Headman
Bhupesh Guha
as The Dancer
Bal Seirgakar
as Indian Hunter
Kalu K. Sonkur
as Karparim
Miles Clark
as Mukosi
Milas Clark
as Mukosi
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Critic Reviews for Bwana Devil

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

In the case of Oboler's film, the story is, for once, not the most important thing about it. Rather, the manner in which it is presented becomes of prime interest.

Full Review… | February 24, 2016
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Will be remembered as the first full-length film in 3-D, otherwise deserves to be forgotten.

Full Review… | August 10, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Bwana Devil

I gave the movie a good rating for even attempting to tell this fantastic true story and for keeping a few elements of the original; story in...unlike the Ghost and the Darkness which is a joke as to historical accuracy.. 1952 was a different cinematic time, but today, the movie itself is no more than a dull absurdity. (Really missing Hedy Lamarr or even here.) No one seems to have a clue as to how to tell this story...or write a script, act, edit. Having found and read the book this movie is very loosely based on, the true story is a magnificent saga that is best left unaltered, however this era of Hollywood was rather careless with any story, and to alter even one sentence of Patterson's great work is criminal. My words would be useless to convey the true magnitude of the ACTUAL event as told by the person who was there, namely Patterson, The lions who killed around 40 people before they were killed by Patterson, were like supernatural monsters from a Hollywood Horror flick in their ability to prey on the railroad workers, natives, and others. Imagine the most horrific predatory monster you have ever seen in a movie and I guarantee it will not come close to the real story. Maybe Michael Cimino could have pulled it off...but I'm feeling Kevin Costner...oh well. Read JH Patterson "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo". It's awe inspiring... As if anyone still reads books anymore.

Jeff St Paul
Jeff St Paul

Later remade as the superior "The Ghost and the Darkness". This has the distinction of being the 1st color film released in 3D.

Zachary Klinefelter
Zachary Klinefelter

Bwana Devil Quotes

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