Timbuktu (1959): Jacques Tourneur’s Adventure, Starring Victor Mature and Yvonne de Carlo

In one of his last assignments, Jacques Tourneur, better known for his horror and noir, directed Timbuktu, a b/w adventure, starring Victor Mature and Yvonne de Carlo.


Original film poster

The story is set in Timbuktu (Africa), but it was filmed in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab, Utah.

In 1940, France is at war with Germany. The French have removed troops from their Africa, opening the door for revolt.

Mature plays American soldier of fortune Mike Conway, who sees chance to pay his way back to the U.S. by running guns to hostile Tuaregs.

Wearing a slouch hat and bush jacket, Conway is armed with Thompson submachine gun and wristwatch with alarm engraved “From Conway to Conway”.

He walks a fine line between an anti-French Tuareg leader (John Dehner) keen for Conway’s supply of weapons but keener to use his tarantulas on his prisoners, a moderate imam (Leonard Mudie) wanting peace, the local French Foreign Legion commander (George Dolenz), and the commander’s beautiful wife (Yvonne de Carlo), his object of desire.

The film was originally meant to be shot on location in color and widescreen with Stuart Heisler to direct.

Director Tourneur claimed that producer Small thought the film was too sh0rt so he inserted reaction shots of close-ups of various actors. Small felt so embarrassed by the film that he removed his name from the final credits.


Victor Mature as Mike Conway
Yvonne De Carlo as Natalie Dufort
George Dolenz as Colonel Charles Dufort
John Dehner as Emir Bhaki aka The Lion of the Desert
Marcia Henderson as Jeanne Marat
Robert Clarke as Captain Girard
Paul Wexler as Suleyman
James Foxx as Lt. Victor Marat


Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Produced by Edward Small
Written by Paul Dudley and Anthony Veiller
Starring Victor Mature
Cinematography Maury Gertsman

Production company: Imperial Pictures

Distributed by United Artists

Release date: November 22, 1959

Running time: 91 min.