I would really have liked to have given The Wilby Conspiracy a higher rating than I did. But unfortunately a really huge and ridiculous error was made in telling the tale.
Due to political pressure brought to bear from various world human rights activists, black nationalist Sidney Poitier is freed by the apartheid South African government. On the way to celebrate, Poitier, his lawyer Prunella Gee and her boyfriend Michael Caine get into a mêlée with South African police and after assaulting a pair of them have to flee.
But it turns out the government in freeing Poitier in the first place has a whole other agenda. Poitier also has something else in mind, to get a stash of diamonds hidden years ago in a robbery to aid the African National Congress.
During the course of fleeing Poitier seeks the aid of an Indian dentist played by Saeed Jeffrey and his assistant Persis Khambatta. While Poitier is hidden away in a modern day priest-hole he takes Khambatta in there with him and while the South African Security are even outside within a few feet of him, Poitier and Khambatta are doing the horizontal mambo. Now granted Poitier had been in prison for 10 years and he was understandably ready to go, still I found it a bit much. The steamy sex scene definitely sold a lot movie tickets, but it was awkwardly planted into the story.
Acting honors in this film go to Nicol Williamson as the South African Security Police Chief Horne. He is a chillingly evil man, resolute in defense of the apartheid society and a bigoted product of that same society. Williamson is living proof of what Martin Luther King said about racism being as toxic to the perpetrator as to the victim.
The Wilby in the Wilby Conspiracy is a Nelson Mandela like figure who is in exile in neighboring Botswana. He only enters the film at the very end and in a surprising way.
The Wilby Conspiracy other than that tacked on sex scene done for box office dollars is a great portrait of the last days of the apartheid society of South Africa. It should be seen for Nicol Williamson’s portrayal alone.