Stanley and Livingstone
Format: DVDChange
Price:$19.98+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2001
Darryl F. Zanuck's movie version of the historic journalistic coup has Spencer Tracy and Sir Cedric Hardwicke doing excellent work in their leading roles (Walter Brennan is hilarious in a supporting one). The film has the speed of a contemporary newspaper drama plus the substance of history. In 1866, a well-known Scottish explorer and missionary named David Livingstone left the east coast of Africa as the head of a native expedition hoping to discover the sources of the Nile. When Livingstone failed to return after three years, he was either believed dead, in prison or insane. At this point, James Gordon Bennett, of the New York HERALD, decided that there was enormous journalistic prestige to be derived from settling the Livingstone mystery once and for all. He assigned his star reporter, Henry Stanley, to find the explorer - "dead or alive". When Stanley found Livingstone alive and well, the HERALD had to use 21 sets of headlines to express its jubilation. Ironically, Stanley became even more famous than the man he sought and found! The first words (the heading) of their historic conversation became a classic catch-phrase.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2006
I'm still waiting for this gem to be put on DVD. I doubt if a lot people are familiar with this film, and that's a shame, and perhaps the reason it hasn't been put on disc. I remember being surprised how good it was the first time I saw it. I liked it even better the second time.

What's to like? Well, Spencer Tracy, to begin with. It's also interesting to see this true story about a man living in the heart of Africa in a time when few white men had ever gone to that continent. Livinstone (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) also was a good witness for his Christian faith, and even made a strong admirer out of partner and skeptic Stanley, played by Tracy.

Completing the fine cast in this film are Nancy Kelly (who looks beautiful), Walter Brennan and Charles Coburn.

The film could have been a spectacular visual one if it had been done in Technicolor, since the locations are in Africa, not some Hollywood set....but tough to get everything. I'm not complaining. Great film.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 1998
This is a fun movie, and the performance of Walter Brennan as Spencer Tracy's sidekick, provides some really great humor to the story. His timing is impeccable. I watched this movie after reading King Leopold's Ghost, by Adam Hochschild; I highly recommend this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2008
Lost in the flood of great films in Hollywood's greatest year (1939), Stanley and Livingstone pays more attention to historical fact than most so-called history films of that era.

Of especial interest is the footage shot in Kenya by among others, the famous Osa Johnson. The African landscape and peoples shot by this second unit crew raise S&L far above the usual Tarzanesque studio back lot scenes that supposedly depict Africa (always jungle in those days, never veldt or mountains). Supervised by one Captain A. J. Klein, the actions shots involving actual Kenyans easily surpasses the competent and workmanlike Hollywood work of director Henry King.

The attack by outraged locals (lots of Samburu and Maasai hired for the occasion, I would guess) on Stanley's expedition, who believe it to be another slaver caravan, is a model of how to build excitement and action. The score here is perfect, and the long shot showing the unwary expedition in the foreground as a distant line representing the first of thousands of plumed warriors appears on the hilly far horizon is the predecessor of similar shots from Spartacus to The Lord of the Rings.

A proper DVD, with historical background and perhaps some of the surviving unused footage from Kenya, would be valuable not only as a cinematic gem, but as a cultural document.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 24, 2011
The only thing that I knew about this film was that it was made in 1939 (arguably the best year for cinema, period) and that it starred Spencer Tracy (one of my favorite actors of all time).

That was enough for me.

For me, this film didn't quite deliver everything I wanted it to. It really showed its age in many areas, especially in the `exploration' scenes, which lacked a lot of depth. With films like this you have to forgive certain aspects since it was a product of the era, but there are some factors here that remain drawbacks no matter how `forgiving' you want to be. I found the film's climax to be far too clichéd and unbelievable for its own good. I know the point it was making and I understand the manipulative `triumph' they were trying to instill, but certain character developments seem too faux when all is said and done, especially Charles Coburn's character, who does a complete 180 in a way that makes very little sense. Spencer Tracy is fantastic though, and he sells his final speech, which has resounding qualities which only a polished actor could conjure up.

The film tells the true story of New York reporter named Henry Stanley who travels to Africa to find a respected Scottish missionary and explorer, Dr. Livingstone, who is reported as being dead. When he finally finds his man, Stanley is impressed heavily by his work and personalized efforts to help the people he sees in dire need of help. The definition of a Christian man, Livingstone puts his own personal comforts and health aside for the betterment of his `cause'.

Tracy's performance is not the only one to mention, for Cedric Hardwick is also superb (what a great year he had in 1939; delivering outstanding performances in `On Borrowed Time', `The Hunchback of Notre Dame' as well as this film). He layers Livingstone beautifully, adding depth to the film and making up for some of the films lacking moments.

As a film about humanity and passion, it works very well. In fact, the films core is wonderfully played. The middle of the film was a joy to watch. Sadly, the pacing of the films first section and the poorly realized courtroom antics make this film less than I wanted it to be.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2009
This fantastic film I first time saw in 1939 as a nine year old boy . I have searched it for years , and at last I found it in your collection in VHS-form . My intention
was to digitalize it for private purposes . Unfortunately it is provided with a Copy-blocker . This made me very disappointed , as long as you can not provide a DVD-copy .
We all know that VHS is on its way out . I hope that you can help me .

Otherwise I am very satisfied with your former deliveries . Merry Christmas !
Thor Hafstad ,Norway
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2007
I teach college US history in north San Diego County. As previously reviewed by another, this film is a gem! I show clips from this film in class to my students for background on the beloved story of finding Dr Livingstone while illustrating Western imperialism in Africa and the new late 19th century masculine figure emerging in this time: the adventuring Christian with commerce, Christianity, and civilization in his hands.

Melinda S. Courtney
Palomar College
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a clean copy an old film which I have always enjoyed (as well as friends who never saw it before). Spencer Tracy and Sir Cedric Hardwicke compise a cast that includes Walter Brennan and Richard Greene. A nice historical rendition of an historical event.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2011
Having read the many reviews for STANLEY & LIVINGSTONE, I am amazed that 20th Century-Fox has still not released it on DVD. Nearly all of the reviews give this film a very high rating, and I am no exception! There were many top-rated films made in 1939, and nearly all of them vied for a place in the Oscars for that year.

STANLEY & LIVINGSTONE was just one of them but, unlike the rest, it is STILL not available on an official factory-pressed DVD! Why? Is it because it's black-and-white? Is it because it has a religious connotation? Is it because it's not WideScreen? Warner and MGM had no difficulty with AL CAPONE and ONE MAN'S WAY releasing them as DVD-Rs "made to order", so why does TCF have trouble doing likewise?

STANLEY & LIVINGSTONE is a brilliant movie! I'd like to have a professional copy of this film on DVD in my collection BEFORE I'm "pushing up the daisies"!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2012
As a child I watched this several times, then it was not available to view or watch.

WHAT A GREAT SURPRISE TO FIND IT WAS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!

What makes the movie even greater is that it is A TRUE STORY OF a GREAT man who reached out to Africa to help and educate the Africans long before it was fashionable. He served his God as he served the Africans he worked to help physically and spiritually.

Livingstone has been forgotten by many but he will never be forgotten by his God. Thankfully Stanley took the challenge to find this wonderful man so many years ago.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.