Dirkie

Thursday, June 19th, 2003

I recently solved a mystery that has nagged at me for over 20 years. The answer to the riddle that has preoccupied me on and off for two-thirds of my life is Dirkie. And the riddle itself came about like this:

Back in the late seventies (I don’t remember the exact year), my family was living in Germany. My parents had gone away on a trip of some sort, and the night that they were due back, I stayed up with my grandmother and watched the single television station available to us back then.

A movie was shown that night. It began with a man, a boy and a dog in a plane over the desert. The plane crashes, something happens to the man, and the boy winds up wandering through the desert alone with his dog. Along the way, he gets stung by a scorpion and becomes delirious. He’s rescued by some tribesmen, but when he wakes up out of his delirium, he thinks that his rescuers have cooked his dog, and he becomes so angry that his rescuers abandon him. I think hyenas enter the picture somewhere along the way, and there may be a snake as well - I’m not sure anymore.

I do remember roughly how the film ended: a search party is sent out after the boy, and when one member of the party (the boy’s father perhaps?) finally finds the limp, dehydrated kid, he scoops the kid up in his arms and fires a shot into the air from his rifle to let the other members of the search party know he has found the boy. If I remember correctly, the final shot in the film is of the man and the boy at the top of an empty sand dune, waiting, alone. At the time, I found this ending ambiguous and unsettling, and I recall that even my parents’ homecoming and the present they gave me upon their return (a ring, I think) didn’t quite shake off the feeling of disquiet with which the film had left me.

That feeling of disquiet has never really gone away (nor has my terror of scorpions, for that matter). Images from the movie - the scorpion, the roasting meat (which isn’t actually the dog, by the way), the final, lonely shot - have haunted me to this day. My feeling of unease has been compounded over the years by the fact that I had absolutely no idea what this movie was called, when it was made or where it was from. As the years passed, I came to believe that it was an Australian film, but a chance conversation with an English friend of mine years ago revealed that he, too, had seen the film as a kid, and while he didn’t know what it was called, he did know that it was South African, not Australian.

Armed with this knowledge, I later searched the Internet for some clue as to what the film was - to no avail. Until just two days ago. Two days ago, I went back to the Internet Movie Database (which I know I scoured ages ago for a clue as to this movie’s title), and after a bit of poking around, I found it: Dirkie, or Lost in the Desert, as it was called in America. Directed in South Africa in 1969 by Jamie Uys, the man who also directed The Gods Must Be Crazy.

When I followed the link on the IMDB site through to the viewer comments and realized that this was, in fact, it, the film that has stuck in my memory for so many years, I uttered a stunned, “Oh. My. God.” I’d almost come to believe that I had simply imagined the movie, or maybe even dreamed it, so when I saw the hard proof of its existence there on my computer screen, it was something of a shock to the system. My memory hadn’t deceived me. I couldn’t believe that other people had apparently had the same experience I had with this film. And I really couldn’t believe that my search was over.

I’m absolutely thrilled to have solved this little puzzle. It’s not some major revelation, and the mystery hasn’t exactly consumed me over the years, but it did always niggle away in a corner of my mind whenever I found myself pondering the things from my childhood that left a truly lasting impression on me. It was always there in my memory as a curiosity, an unexplained phenomenon, a big question mark. Funnily enough, though the mystery of the movie’s title has been solved, the uneasy feeling the film left me with has not abated - for which I’m actually thankful. Sometimes solving the mystery of something takes the magic away from it. I’m happy that Dirkie’s magic has remained intact.

Comments

1

Leave it up to AFN to air some bizarre, South African film…which has “niggled” you for all these years. Glad you were able to solve the mystery! Mutti

2

I also have been haunted by this movie. Now I would love to find a copy of it! It has been many a discussion between my sisters and myself for years as we were truely tramatized by poor Dirkie. Do you know where any copies are available? Thanks, Sue

Posted by Sue Sawyer

3

I recently purchased a original copy in Australia from the following source:-

South African Essentials 43b Davidson Terrace Joondalup Western Australia telephone +61 8 9301 1977

Only available in VHS tape [PAL]. Not available in DVD format.

Distributed by Ster Kinekor Home Entertainment in South Africa. Check out following link:-

http://www.sterhome.com/Movies/RetVidA.asp

While the description in english is not complete, the bar code indicated is the same as the original copy I purchaced.

Hope this helps. ken

kenpartridge@bigpond.com

Posted by ken

4

I too have looked for this movie for around 25 years now! WOuld love to buy it on VHS, but it would have to play on US players; not the PAL format. Can anyone help?

-Andy P.

piantanida31@yahoo.com

5

I’ve also had the same experience with this film: the images haunted me, particularly the scorpion sting, the delirious wandering, the dog being eaten by bushmen. I also vaguely remember leaflets being scattered around the wandering boy at one point. I’ve even written bits of stories influenced by this half-remembered imagery, e.g.

“… Russian helicopters shower the desert with pamphlets carrying the face of Lazarus - he is wanted bad - Lazarus cannot see these faces as he is blinded by a scorpion sting …”

I began to think I’d imagined it, or dreamed it. I’m so glad I’ve finally solved the riddle!

Posted by Elliot Smith

6

You use the same language to describe this movie as I do. Haunting images that have stayed with me on an off for close to 34 years. I too once believed it was an Australian movie. I am Australian and as an 8 year old I failed to distinguish the difference in the accents, or in the faces of the San (the bushmen) Vs Australian Aboriginals. The desert was also in keeping with the sandy deserts we have in Australia. I was surprised recently to find it was a South African movie.

With very little dialogue and vast wide open empty landscapes, those images we all remember etch themselves even more sharply on the mind. I have never read so many reviews that are wirtten by people who have not seen this movie since they were children yet retain the story and its images so clearly in their minds.

I would dearly love one day to see it again and show it to my children.

Posted by Barb

7

thank goodness i stumbled on this page - it one of those films that sticks in your mind especially as a child.

8

I watched it one Friday night I was probably 6yo. I remember being devestated by the kid being bitten by the scorpion. I saw the movie again a couple years later and didn’t find it anywhere near as disturbing the second time round but the initial feeling is still there when I think back to watching it. We were discussing movies the other day at work and discovered there were quite a few of us that watched this movie and were quite affeted by it and still remembered it to this day but couldnt quite remember the name. Now we know

Posted by Aleida

9

I’m so glad I found this page because I too have been haunted by memories of this movie after watching it as an 8 year old over 30 years ago. I remember quite vividly some of the scenes, two of the ones that haunt me to this day for some strange reason are when a very large egg of a big bird was fried on a hot rock and eaten and when Dirkie’s father found him at the bottom of the canyon at the end of the movie and took him up to the top but didn’t take the poor little dog who was left whining at the bottom and struggling to get up the face of the canyon to be with his master. I think the father then looked at his unconcious little boy and realised what that dog had been through with his son and felt that he had better rescue him as well for the boy’s sake. This imagary sticks in my mind in particular because it sends strong messages about loyalty, togetherness and compassion. I would love to get my hands on a copy of this movie and re-live those childhood memories.

Posted by Richard Conn

10

Oh my gosh, I’m sitting here in Malibu CA. thinking about this movie too which has gnawed at me for about 35 years. Every now and then I have vivid sad memories of Dirkie wondering through a desert and falling into a hole of some sorts and getting bit by the scorpion. Today it occured to me that I could find out the name of the movie on the internet and maybe even find a copy, so thanks for doing the leg-work and shedding light on the vague memories from my childhood. Deanne

Posted by Deanne Rollins

11

As a six year old I was traumatized by this movie. For years I had nightmares. I would never allow young children to view this movie, at least not until they are in their teens. I particularly remember in the end when Dirkie’s father is debating on rescuing the dog or not, and looking through his son’s pockets, finds one of the puppies the dog had birthed. The father then realizes his son’s devotion to the dog and the need to save it as well.

Posted by Carmen Vaz-Altenberg

12

Oh my goodness! This film seems to have had the exact same effect on all of us 30 somethings!

I have been trying to trace the identity of the very first film I ever saw in a cinema.

It was the B-Movie to ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’ (1974). I thought I’d be able to find out easily what it was called, as I was under the impression that all B-Movies were universally allocated to a film like the B-side of a record. But now I’m told they varied from cinema to cinema.

In hindsight I thought it may be an Australian film, but not because of the accents; I thought the wild dog could’ve been a dingo. I was only six at the time, & my recollection of the plot was:

After the boy and his Yorkie(?) dog have been missing for a while, his father who works in a city arranges for paper fliers to be dropped out of helicopters along the assumed route.

A wild dog in the desert sniffs at one of the fliers. (Now I’m told it was a hyena)

The boy’s pet dog has pups, which he puts in his various shirt and trouser pockets(!)

Desperate for food, he points a gun at the mother dog. (Audience goes ‘aahh’! But he does not shoot. (Now I realise it was the Dad who did this, from what it says above)

At the end his father finally finds him unconscious in the sand, and carries him off.

But it’s not clear if the boy is alive or not! That’s why it haunts so many of us!

I’m getting onto the TV networks to try and persuade them to broadcast it. Good luck in finding ‘Dirkie’ everyone & stay in touch!

Posted by Paula Hughes

13

I’m absolutely amazed that so many of you have had the same experience as I had! How strange that a small, obscure movie should affect all of us so deeply - and how wonderful that modern technology has made it possible for all of us Dirkie-o-philes to virtually meet and talk about what this film meant to us. I’m so glad I wrote this article, and I’m even happier that so many of you have left comments here sharing your experiences with the movie. Thank you all!

And just out of curiosity - how did you all come across my site?

14

Thanks for this site which I just came across……I first posted a message on the IMDB messageboards a year or so ago titled “Looking for this Movie” I checked the site out again today and found someone had put this sites link on one of there comments… http://us.imdb.com/board/bd0000001/thread/4541130?d=4551727#4551727

I didnt relise there were so many people besides me that had been looking for this movie for the past 30 odd years….I just could never understand how one of our TV stations here in Brisbane Australia could have shown LOST IN THE DESERT once and then never shown it again….some movies they show every 2 weeks….this was always a mystery to me and the memory of this movie has never left me. I will be ringing South African Essentials in Western Australia soon to see if I can get a copy of this movie and end my search once and for all :-) Thanks for taking the time to set up this site.

God Bless Leigh (grobs75@hotmail.com)

Posted by Leigh

15

I saw this movie as a kid and have not forgotten it since. I wish people would not forget these little films that are just as amazing as the bigger budget ones that seem to stick around longer. I am looking to find it either in DVD or US video format. Thanks!

Posted by Aarti Sharma

16

I’m another 30 something who has been haunted by this movie since watching it at the tender age of 7. I’m so glad I found this site (via imdb). Like others, I also can’t beleive I have never seen or heard of this movie since I saw it. I’m so glad other people have been affected in the same way, and that I’m not mad.

Posted by Stu

17

SPECIAL ATTENTION !!

I have a theatrical 35mm film print of ‘Lost in the Desert’ (1970) in my small office sited in Tokyo, Japan. The film was from US-released version with director’s name ‘Jamie Hayes’ (Jamie Uys) and his son (?) actor’s name is Dirkie Hayes (Dirkie Uys)in the opening title credits. The print is fair-condition with rather reddish picture but is in above good condition, suitable for theatrical film screening purpose. It is in Technicolor and Techniscope version as it was originally screened in the convenient theatre, as the 35mm print film is aged nearly 35 years old, contained 5-reels - about 89 minutes with very few missing footage but OK condition otherwise. Sorry, video isn’t currently availabled. I am planning to sell it for U.S. $150 and also will adding the shipping charge cost when purchuse for any interested buyer anywhere in the globe. This print believed to be existing in rare form and it is big chance to claim it straight from me, the seller. Please reply me by this address :- hoskin@nifty.com Any other suggestions or comments are warmly welcome. Thanks.

18

I would love to buy a copy of Dirkie on video and have followed the sterhome link to no avail. Any suggestion? Jan. 2004 Victoria Australia Email me on: sharyng@tpg.com.au

Thanks, Sharyn

Posted by Sharyn Groch

19

Sharyn,

I have checked www.sterhome.com Ster Kinekor must have since changed web site url.

Ster Kinekor Home Video Pty Ltd Wendywood 2144 South Africa telephone (011) 445-7900 - PO Box 76378

Tape has following text:- ‘This tape manufactured for rental & sale only in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana…… and may not be exported or transhipped to area’s outside these territories’. I would suggest a legacy of SA’s previous aparteid situation. Not sure what situation prevailed with ‘The God’s must be Crazy’ ?

Call South African Essential in West Australia on 08 9301 1977

Bar code:- 6 004416 036497 [ second barcode on box:- 695600295 ]

Posted by Ken

20

A South African distributor has the movie in their database: www.shopasave.net

Posted by andy

21

I was never really haunted by this film as I had completely forgotten it until I read this page. I did see it many years ago and I remember everything you guys have written and I am going to try and track it down. I run a video business in the UK at www.vicpine.co.uk so if I do manage to track it down I will advertise on there. By coincidence, today (7/4/04), I got The Gods Must Be Crazy on video. It was bought in South Africa last year new. It was made by ster-kinekor. Thanks for the shopasave link andy.

22

Woo hoo, I’m not crazy!! I too have been affected by this movie as a child. I don’t know if I would let my kids watch it, however. I wouldn’t want them stuck with all the disconcerting images I’ve had over the years!!!

I was able to find this site and your comments through inthe00s.com. Great site for remembering things of the past. Try it.

Posted by Michelle

23

I have been searching for this movie for 20 plus years. I also had seen it as a child and was always trying to ask people if they remembered a movie called Durkee, I guess I had it spelled wrong. Thanks for putting this on the internet so that I can finally get that memory of the movie I thought I would never find out of my deep thoughts, and finally to rest.

Posted by Max

24

I got an anonymous tip-off that might interest some of you: a copy of Dirkie is currently being auctioned on ebay.co.uk, item 3396438907. The price at the moment is £1 - but there are 5 days to go, so anything could happen!

If I had a video player, I’d seriously consider bidding - but then again, maybe some things are better left to childhood memory…

25

Hi Jessica, I managed to import 3 copies from SA a few weeks back which I have now listed on the Amazon website at this address:

http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y05Y1728782Y1186574/202-1764725-0072601

If this link doesn’t work just go to zShops on the homepage and do a search for Dirkie, it should show up.

My contact there told me that Ster-Kinekor have no intention of producing any more copies of this unless there is sufficient interest in it, ie a minimum order or 100 copies!

I am going to try and get hold of these. Fingers crossed as it would be a shame for this film do disappear from existence altogether. They are unfortunately expensive for me to import (about £12 each) hence I am selling them for £19.95 on Amazon.

I hope I have helped a few of you find this film now, I watched it again yesterday after 30 years, and, well it is just as wonderful.

26

In answer to Jessica’s question, I did a search in Google and was brought straight to this site. Thank you for the site! If I remember I’ll post a link to here on the IMDb message board, as no-one’s talking about it over there.

I got an email from Chris (above) at Vicpine Videos too, but I wanted to bid at the end of the auction - that was until I noticed today (06 April 04) that the current price was £40! So I hotfooted it down to Amazon to pay £19.95 for it. It’s just sold for £40 so I guess I got a bargain!

I’m thrilled to know I’ll finally see it again. I chatted to Chris on the phone and we discussed the possibility of DVD copies being made from PAL VHS copies, then American VHS copies made from DVDs for Dirkie fans that can’t use the PAL system.

My email is f11@60th.freeserve.co.uk if I can help anyone, but Chris is the retailer with the contacts.

Posted by Paula Hughes

27

If anyone is interested in buying the movie on VHS, please let me know as I recently bought it via a Sth. African website.

Posted by Sharyn Groch

28

I am in London and about a year ago I bought a VHS copy of Dirkie from someone in the US, via the comments on the film at imdb.com. It seems to be a video recording of a film screening, but the quality is fine and perfectly watchable.

If any other fans are in the London area, I am happy to arrange a screening somewhere!

29

The website you need to go to to buy Dirkie is www.shopasave.com It was not expensive and the process went smoothly. The VHS video was compatible with Australian systems and I feel the circle is now complete. It is especially interesting viewing the film now with adult eyes!!

Posted by Sharyn

30

Someone has it on eBay.com (Aug 30, 2004 10:42pm GMT-5)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=25472&item=3379055006&rd=1&ssPageName=WD1V

Posted by Lenny

31

Hi all. I saw this film in 1969 in a new movie house in our area. In a town called Parow, Cape Town South Africa. The movie house was called the Ster 700 This movie premiered in this movie house in 1969. I was 10 years old at the time. This movie impressed me so as a child that I have gone to see it various times. The leading role of the boy Dirkie as it was known here in Afrikaans was played by Jamie Uys’s son Wynand. Jamie himself played the role of the father. Wynand Uys died when he was in matric (Std 10) he was killed in a car accident. As with most of the other readers the ending haunted me for years. I have subsequently purchased a copy on VHS and I was disappointed to find that certain scenes were not in the movie. The one scene where the search party goes into the desert to look for Dirkie. The one truck is covered by sand when it rolls down the one dune killing the man who assisted Dirkie’s dad. I will however treasure this movie for years to come. Fred.

Posted by Fred Jansen

32

i am looking for a copy of lost in the desert on vhs in chicago where can i get it

Posted by mary ulman

33

amazing the influence even a small film can have on so many people from so many corners of the world. like most here, i too saw "lost in the desert" when i was very young while living in mexico city - my parents took my twin brother and i to see it on our 10th birthday (it was part of a double featue that included the australian (i believe) documentary "blue water white death".) and i have never forgotten it.

after many years of half-hearted attempts to find the name of the movie and purchase it (without success), i finally decided to buckle down today and not give up - and i’m very glad as it not only paid off but also brought me to these wonderful posts - posts which have brought back a flood of very fond memories.

my son just turned a mature 10 years old and i am very much looking forward to sharing this movie with him - but i think i’ll wait before showing it to my 6 year old daughter!

one thing i found interesting when reading these posts was that it apparently was a scorpion that poisoned dirkie - for some reason i remembered a spitting cobra which caused dirkie temporary blindness and which also caused him to fall into some sort of cave…

btw, i did a google on the boy that starred in the movie, wynand uys (the son of the director, now deceased), and it appears that he now owns and operates a river lodge in south africa called "otters den" - there is a photo of him on the site for those interested:

http://www.ottersden.co.za/picture_gallery.htm

34

you people have the same exact emotions about this movie as I. i have not seen the movie though, but my dad had seen it. he used tell me the story of this film over and over again when i was a kid, at bedtime. and i listened with interest everytime. if there was one movie that i absolutely wanted to watch, it was lost in the desert and i have been waiting for close to 20 years. exhaustive searches on the internet turned up nothing, until today. the next step would be to purchase the VHS/DVD.

Posted by anand

35

Where can I get a DVD? The fathers cries of "Spinney…Spinney…" while he carries the boy and then hears the hooting car horn has given me goosebumps for 19 years, I saw the movie in South Africa on TV as an 8 year old.

Andrew Evans

Posted by Andrew Evans

36

Wow, I’ve stumbled into the twilight zone. I too saw this movie when I was about 6-8 years old. I remember it was showing in our small town the same time they released Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. Alone against the family I pleaded for the movie I have known as Durkee, and prevailed over Pete’s Dragon. Somewhere in the middle of the film, terror stricken, I reversed my position and began begging to go see Pete’s Dragon after all. After almost thirty years all I could recall was a boy, his dog, the crashed plane, and an incredibly terrifying hyena. I have asked my family, friends and acquaintances countless times if they remember this film, and every one of them has looked at me like I’m crazy, not recalling a single thing about the movie. Perhaps it’s the unique wiring of a 7ish year old brain that sucked that movie in, and has haunted me for all these years. Thank God for Google for leading me to this site, and thanks to this site and all who have commented. I am not crazy after all, this movie DOES exist.

Posted by justin peterson

37

Wow! I watched this movie when I was 8 years old and growing up in Mexico City in 1970. I cannot believe how much it affected me that I sill remember it 35 years later. Also that so many people on this board feel the same way I did.

Posted by Stephen

38

… I couldn’t have been but seven or eight. I still recall the ache and chill this movie left me with after 26+ years!! I was ASTOUNDED to find this sight and find it left the same impression on others.I saw this movie (1976?) as one in a series of weekend matinee specials that theaters used to run for school kids. This movie SCARED and MOVED me in a manner I can’t forget. I recall being emotional after the movie was over. After trying to spell the boy’s name about 15 different ways, I found a movie poster on ebay which eventually led me to this site. Thank you for solving a a personal mystery which I carried in my mind’s eye for many many years.

Posted by Todd Kinzel

39

Hallelujah!!! Mystery finally solved!! My best friend and I have searched and reminisced about this movie for years! We saw it some time in the late 70’s when we were about 7 or 8. I was so excited when I read this write up. Half way into the third paragraph, I immediately called her. I knew we finally had our answer! We laughed through the whole description. (Probably shouldn’t admit I had chills the whole time!!) Nice to know there are other crazy people out there. :) Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and let others in on your mystery solved.

Posted by Michelle

40

i’m looking for the movie blue water white death to buy my g-ma recored over it when i was younger and have been looking for it ever since please help

Posted by jimmy

41

Fred Jansen reported that Wynand Uys, the child actor who played Dirkie died in a car crash in 1976. I’m pleased to report that its not true, for I am Wynand and I’m alive and kicking (never been in a car crash). The anonymous contributor about 8 messages up did track me down and he/she got my web address right.

When the movie was released in, I think, 1969, there simply weren’t many movies on the circuit and cinema was really the only way to see a movie. BETA and VHS still hadn’t been invented. Hence, people saw fewer movies, perhaps a dozen year, and each movie’s impact was not dilluted as much as it today. Also, movies at the time didn’t really explore our real fears and horrors and were mostly musicals and comedies. The horror movies at the time were cheap thrills. The generation of youngsters that saw Dirkie back then were brought up in an era of relative peace and comfort, with only the distant "cold war" and a rather surreal nuclear threat to occupy our fear faculties.

Take a really traumatic movie like "Saving Private Ryan" back in time to 1969 and it would probably have been met with revulsion and subsequent banning.

Yet, I am surprised that so many folks still remember Dirkie. My apologies for any anguish caused. I had a great time acting in the movie as a 9 and 10 year old: No school for a year, seeing the vast landscapes of Namibia and learning about desert wildlife and people.

I’ve had no interest in being an actor since.

42

Hello, Mr. Uys, and thank you so much for leaving a comment here! I’m completely shocked and delighted to hear from you!

I think your explanation for why Dirkie made such a huge impression on us all is a very astute one. And Dirkie really does play on the deep-seated fear that every child (and probably every adult) has, I’m sure: the fear of being utterly lost and totally alone. The movie is executed so well that it captures that fear perfectly - and hence it has permanently imprinted itself on our memories.

There’s certainly no need to apologize - you and your father have given us all something magical: emotional, dream-like childhood memories that have intrigued and thrilled us for decades. So, thank you very much!

43

You have no idea how much anguish trying to track the name of this film has caused my mother!!! Thanks to this wonderous page she can now get on with the rest of her life, so can we, as we will not be asked about the title to the film with the boy who was stung by a scorpion in the desert!!!

Posted by Paula Stagg

44

I found this movie based on the main words through the internet movie critic. As everyone mentions, I was haunted by it in the early ‘70’s in Turkey and was unable to sleep that night. The boy was around my age at that time. Later, I found out many children had nightmares from it.

Posted by murat

45

Oh my God! It’s almost midnight and I’m in front of my keyboard just crying like a child remembering this masterpiece. I saw this movie when I was 8/9 years old and I still remember that little boy being devastaded when he realized that his dog was dead. I’m from El Salvador, Central America, just to point out that this movie has touched so many hearts around the planet.

Posted by Malcolm Cartagena

46

If anyone is looking for this film on video i managed to purchase it from WWW.SHOPASAVE.NET (a South African site that ships abroad for very reasonable prices) I can now not only tell my mother the name of the film but she can also watch it, bringing back memories of when she was a cinema manager in Bridgwater somerset England. I may even watch it, although many of the images are as vivid in my minds eye as they were on the screen 30 years ago.

Posted by Paula Stagg

47

I too saw the film when I was about 5 or 6 - it was the showing with a Sinbad film (can’t remember which one) in England. I think it was only my first or second ever visit to the cinema. In particular I rememberl a scene where someone is stung in the eye by a snake. I can only imagine how it must have affected me at the time - quite strong stuff for a little boy. Unlike some of the other contributors to this page I don’t want to see the film again as I fear it will inevitably distort what for me is a deep seated memory that I want to preserve…

Posted by Mark

48

WOW! Haven’t visited this site since last year. And I was shocked at Fred Jansen’s tale of Wynand’s death, only to be delighted to read later that Fred got it wrong, and Wynand is alive and well!

Thanks for posting, Wynand! You’re a legend!

Fred also said, however, that a deleted scene near the end of the movie showed Dirkie’s Dad’s assistant die. Surely this would mean Dirkie would die too, as he desperately needed medical attention? And without the truck, how would his Dad get him to hospital or home?

I was so happy to watch a happy ending after 30 years of believing it was a sad ending. And now to find out that it possibly did have a sad ending after all. I do hope Fred’s wrong about this too.

Dirkie Cannot Die!

Posted by Paula Hughes

49

this is very weird - i was dreaming about this film last night and when i woke i thought - i really must go on the internet just to have a look at this film. I like a lot of others on this site saw this film when i was very young - and it was the B movie to Sinbad. I had never forgotten the name of the film, because like so many others - alot of the images had stayed with me - the poor boy wondering around the desert - the yorkie dog that gave birth - i remember the young native boy who took him home to his family (does anyone remember that) - and they gave him food and when he realised he was eating meat he thought they had killed his dog and that he was actually eating his dog! so he ran away from them. Also - his father and those fliers - they said ‘your father loves you and he will find you’ - and the poor boy keeps seeing these fliers and he knows his dad is looking for him and he keeps repeating those words. I remember as well that when the search party was organised, a decision was taken not to go into one half of the desert because it was thought that he really couldn’t have survived - but his dad kept flying over the half that no-one else was looking in (am i wrong with this?) - and his dad kept dropping these fliers. I can’t believe (like many others) how vivid these images were ( i remember nothing of Sinbad!) - when the film ended i couldn’t stop crying - i went home and i was still crying - this film has always stayed with me - and i have to admit that even now as a 40 year old - i would find it very difficult to watch this film (and i don’t cry at films) as it would be too upsetting. Yes brilliant film - but i really hoped there would be a happy ending - cos that is what we do always expect isn’t it - but no - his father found him and that is where i remember it finishing so we still didn’t know if the boy survived. It is so good to see that this film impacted on others as well. Thank you for this site.

Posted by Jane

50

Yes it is indeed bizarre. I saw this with Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (not Golden Voyage) in UK cinemas in the late seventies. I was about six or seven. It has haunted me for the best part of thirty years. The scene that had the most impact was the boy being taken in by the tribesmen and finding out he had just eaten his own dog. It is a chilling nightmare, especially for a kid. It speaks to something in us about the pure emotions of a child being effortlessly bested by the callous logic of adulthood. Or something. Eitherway, I would love to see this again.

Posted by Robin

51

I am 43 years old, married and have a 7 year old boy…… Today, I was driving with my son to the grocery store and just to make the drive fun for him I was asking him silly question, one of the questions that came to my mind was, what would you do if we are lost in the desert? He answered that he would call for help on the cell phone… I kept driving quietly and started remembering scenes from the movie and how much I used to think about it not long ago. I am amazed that all of you have gone through the same vague memories I went through for 30 years. I always wanted to find out if this was a kid’s dream or my imagination. If anybody knows where to get a copy of the film in the Chicago area, please let me know at: synkalex@hotmail.com

By the way, I watched the movie 34 years ago in Mexico City.

52

If you want to contact me, my email address has changed to sharyng3@tpg.com.au

Posted by Sharyn

53

Whoa!! talk about a time warp I have just sat here and read all these posts and every word in them was everyting I’ve felt too for the past 30 years.. I watched this movie in Australia when I was a small child I cant remember if it was on TV or at the cinema but it has had such an impact on my life too like many of you so I thought I would post on here..I even phoned my father tonight asking him if he could remember the name of this movie before endless searches on the net brought me to this site. I would love to see it again it impacted me so much I wrote stories about it all through my school years and still to this day I think about certain scenes in it that I can clearly see especially the snake that spit in his eyes and blinded him and the natives eating his dog or so I thought..lol I think his dogs name was lolli from memory I still here him calling her name. This movie has stuck in my head all these years like no other movie ever has I’m glad its had an impact on alot of others around the world like it did me.

Posted by Christine

54

I am South African and saw this movie as a child of about 7 when it was released in South Africa - really the "talk of the town" at that stage and extremely popular all around with both children and adults. Everyone saw it and I also remember the details vividly to this day. Even though many Afrikaans movies were made up to then and since, I believe this to be one of the best movies ever to come from this country.
I haven’t thought of it in quite a while and am amazed that it had such an impact world-wide on the minds of so many people, especially since I believed it to have been distributed only in South Africa and South West Africa (the only traditionally Afrikaans speaking countries). My family visited South West Africa (now Namibia) and the Namib desert the year before and I knew exactly where the film was shot. Even though I did cry my eyes out for the desparate situation the boy and his dog found themselves in, I was fortunate not to be haunted by these images all my life, as the location was not unknown. I think part of the horror for many young kids who saw the movie in the 70’s, is the fact that to many around the world, this area is totally unknown and alien. When I do think about the movie images, I have a feeling of longing for those days. I would love to see the movie again. If any of you ever have the opportunity to visit that part of the world, do so without hesitation. There are fantastic holidays and adventures to be had at very affordable prices (and especially so if you exchange Dollars or Pounds!) and I can promise memories to surpass the terror of the images from Dirkie that haunted you for so many years.
I have found the movie on the South African shopping site: www.kalahari.net , so visit and buy your own copy of this movie on DVD or VHS. They ship around the world and the movie is priced at less than R150 - (about $25.00).

It was really good to read all the letters above, except of course this Dalton guy right ahead of me, who probably sees the opportunity to part people with their money with his intrusive and obnoxious nonsense at every street corner! What a shame to have such opportunism right in the middle of our vivid childhood memories!

Posted by Anneke

55

Saw this movie 36 years ago (1970) in Curacao Netherlands Antilles in a drive inn theater, when I was 10 years old. It was vivid in my memory for a long time. Yesterday, I finally found the link on internet. I initially thought it was a Disney/American movie. The movie made a massive impression on me, the lost boy was my hero, his father, the rescuer, did everything for his sun. A movie about loneliness, compassion, fear and bravery. Amazing to hear the boy lives in South Africa. What would be the reason the movie was so scarcely distributed? Apartheid? I now realize this movie has had a great impact on my live, probably through sheer realism and shocking scenes, I’m happy now I can focus my thoughts on the making of the movie and not it contents.

Posted by michiel bijkerk

56

Just recently purchased this movie on dvd from Shopasave in s.Africa,mint print with english and africaans versions on it(different begginnings,same film) didnt cost too much,about a tenner English. Like you lot this films been a ‘dream’ i dream for thirty yrs,NO words can describe the emotion i felt when i can across this page and the subsiquent viewing again of this dvd. Saw this film circa 74 at Bletchley cinema UK with Argonauts i think. If i died tomorrow i’d be happy and complete i re-viewed this part of my childhood,absolutely favourite film EVER.

Posted by Mark mckinley

57

“Dirkie - Lost in the Desert” now available on DVD

The Afrikaans movie “Dirkie” and its English translation “Lost in the Desert” have both been released on the same DVD by Ster Kinekor in South Africa around November 2005. The two films differ slightly, but what was disappointing is the fact that the Afrikaans version is not complete, being only 70 minutes in length. I think one of the roles became lost because the ending is too abrupt. Ster Kinekor should have looked at the Afrikaans copy and try to fill in the missing part from the English version onto it. There is basically no dialogue (only music) on the missing section and this could have been done without anybody noticing it.

The quality of the DVD is good considering its age. It is wide screen and there are some lines here and there especially at the opening credits on the Afikaans version. The rest of the film is almost perfect. There are many VHS copies available and one can pay up to $164 for a VHS copy if one does not search around. My copy is an official DVD copy and costs only R110 ( = US$18.25) + postage. I found the company to be very prompt and had the copy within 2 days, beautifully packaged and secure. Here is the link to order it. (it is PAL, not NTSC)

http://www.shopasave.co.za/index.php?txtSearch=All&txtSearchValue=Dirkie&Type_Code=Search

You can also get the above DVD by purchasing the “Mimosa 2 box set” from the same link as above. This contains the above DVD packaged together with “The gods must be crazy II” for R145 (= $24.13). (2 discs both PAL)

If you are looking for an NTSC copy, you can find an unofficial copy for around $30 on the IMDB site, just look under comments of the people who saw this movie.

Now something else – I am looking for VHS or DVD copies of

“After you comrade” (AKA “All the way to Paris” and “The sheltering desert”. This has been released on DVD now but is only available from Greece if you willing to pay through your neck. Do you know of anybody who can help me?

Thanks

Johan (Grobbelaar)

Posted by Johan Grobbelaar

58

Wow, This is incredible - all us people coming ‘back’ to tell of our own experiences. I am now 45 and I recall seeing this movie as a child in Newcastle (New South Wales - Australia), sometime in the early ’70s I think??.

I too thought the movie was filmed in Australia and in fact had no idea it had been filmed in South Africa.

I think I have a few of the ‘pieces’ which might fill in some of the puzzle!

After the ‘plane’ crashes and night sets in, the young boy (who I think was the nephew) of the man - ‘who was to die’, got quite cold.

The boys ‘uncle ??’ was resting close to the plane but was in a really ‘bad way’ - quite ill!

The lad gathered some sticks and brush together and managed to light a fire !!

What the boy did not realise however was that fuel from the planes tank had leaked around the area and when he lit the fire it quickly trailed back to the plane where the man (who as I said - think was his uncle) was killed as the plane exploded.

The boy wandered off by himself looking for help.

The boy eventually was ‘stung’ by a sorpion and became quite delirious.

After some time a ‘native’ - obviously not an Australian Aboriginie (now that I know better - lol) helped him.

Now - in hind sight, I have a ‘gut’ feeling that the native may have been from the Kalahari (or something similar) - and as my wife just reminded me (lol) that we have ‘no’ poisonous scrorpions in Australia anyway !! (thank-you dear wife ..lol)

I also remember the native (who I don’t think was very old himself) put some sort of poultice on the sting.

Something tells me that the boy was taken to the natives ‘camp site’ or ‘village’ where he rested and was eventually ‘nursed’ in some respect back to health.

I Hope this helps a bit .. Paul NSW Australia

Posted by Paul Barr

59

.. sorry (Paul again) re last post,

I too would love to get hold of a copy of the dvd, so again if anyone can help I would much appreciate any help ..

Thanks Paul Barr

Posted by Paul Barr

Sorry. Comments are closed.