Mister Johnson (1990) Script

Bamu! Bamu!

Hey! Hey, Bamu!

Bamu, it's me, Johnson.

Bamu, Johnson come.

By God, Bamu, you're a pretty girl.


I think you have the most beautiful breasts.

Beautiful breasts. God bless you for them.

I beg how much. Now go leave me alone.

Ah, Bamu.

I'm a rich man, Bamu. Rich.

Aye. I never seen such a beautiful girl.

I could teach you to be a civilized lady... and you could do no work at all.

Did I say so crazy?

♪ I got a little girl ♪

♪ I got a little girl ♪

♪ She round like the world ♪

♪ She smooth like the water ♪

♪ She shine like the sky ♪

♪ She sweet like the corn She smell like the new grass ♪

♪ She dance like the tree She shake like the leaves ♪

♪ She warm like the ground She deep like the bush ♪

♪ How do? How do? ♪

♪ How do, little girl? ♪

♪ I see you there ♪

♪ How do, little girl? ♪

♪ I see you there ♪

♪ How — ♪♪ Left, right, left, right.

Left, right, left, right, left, right, left.

Good morning, sir.

Mr. Johnson, I want my money.

We want that money.

I will pay you soon. Health to you.

Good health. Good health.

Hey! Make them stop.

You no go inside. Go away!


Good morning, sir. God preserve you.

Johnson, why are you so bloody late?

S-Sir, the clock is fast.

The clock is stopped, Johnson.

Ah, but it was fast when it stopped, sir.

Get me that PWD circular that came in from Lagos, will you, Johnson?

Yes, sir. Ten seconds, sir.

Uh —

The point is, Waziri, you just can't do it.

Why not, lord? Because it's — It's barbaric.

Oh, but i-it's been done for centuries.

Damn it, Waziri, I am not having women flogged.

There's been a directive from the governor.

But they are prostitutes. I don't care what they are.

No flogging.

What shall we do to them, Lord Rudbeck?

W-Well, put them in prison.


That's abominable cruelty. They would die of shame.

Well, we can't flog them.

So we'll just have to think of something else then.


Left, right, left, right, left.

Saleh, my pet.

This is the file on elephant poachers.

And why in the name of God is it full of correspondence about tobacco?

Um — Uh — You say tobacco look like elephant dropping.

This is the local exports file.

Yes, sir.


What on earth has Sergeant Gollup's cow got to do with local exports?

Mmm — I think the hide, sir.

But the bloody cow isn't dead.

But I think it going to die soon.

"Thy wife shall be as fruitful... as the vine upon the walls of thy house.

Lo, thus shall a man be blessed."

And wilt thou, Mr. Johnson... take this woman, Bamu, to be thy lawfully wedded wife?

Oh, yes. I certainly do.

And wilt thou, Bamu, take this man, Mr. Johnson... to be thy wedded husband?

Uh, I now pronounce you man and wife.

What do you go after then, Gollup? Pig?

Oh, no, sir. No.

No, there, uh, there aren't no pig round here. Not now, sir.

Fair bit of guinea fowl though. Oh, yes.

Any leopard? There's a big one, sir.

So they tell me. Up the Bauchi Road.

Uh, got himself a couple nigs — natives, sir.

Uh, only last week.

I might have a go at him.

I'd go with you, if I didn't have to go on this damn tour up to Maiduguri.

Perhaps in a few months, eh?

Oh, right you are, sir. Not half. Oh, yes, yes.

All right.

Another one of Johnson's bloody parties. Big one too.

Oh. Probably going to go on all night.

Go wear your English lady dress now. It no good.

I will make you the seat.

But why not? Now, the right thing to do —

Waziri salutes Johnson, clerk of Fada.

I salute Waziri.

God grant you long life.

So... a beautiful wife.

A grand party.


But you are an important man, clerk Johnson.

I hear the new judge, Rudbeck, is your friend.

Quite true, Waziri. Hmm.

That you know everything that happens in the office.

Also true, Waziri.

In the government, we know all orders.


Mr. Bauli, who used to be clerk before you... he was a good friend of mine.

So I have heard.

And you give him 10 shillings a month.

Ah, much more, clerk Johnson. More than that.

And he showed you all the government letters.

Mmm, sometimes if a letter came... about the-the emir... or the new taxes...

I read it even before the judge did.

You say to me, "You belong for the king.

You tell me all the king's thoughts.

I give you plenty money."

It is the custom.

You think I be thief, Waziri?

♪ England is my country ♪

♪ Oh, England is my home ♪

♪ Oh, England is my home ♪

♪ All on the big water ♪

♪ Oh, England is my home all on the big water ♪

♪ The king of England, he say, "I know that Johnson ♪

♪ I know that Johnson from Fada ♪

♪ He my faithful clerk from Fada, that Mr. Johnson ♪

♪ Johnson, the big man from Fada" ♪

♪ Oh, England is my home ♪

♪ Oh, England is my home all on the big water ♪♪

Bamu, why you no wake me?

Good-bye, Harry. See you in a few months.

Good-bye, sir. Oh, and, uh — Oh.

Now, remember what I said. Keep an eye on the emir.

And that cunning old Waziri. Will do, sir.

Oh, that clerk of yours, uh — Uh, Johnson. Johnson. Don't trust him.

Keep an eye on the whole bloody lot of 'em!

I work for Lord Rudbeck.

Go! Go away!

Go away! Away! I'll go pay you tomorrow!


What in God's name is going on here?

This one owes us money.

To all these people? And many more, lord.

What do you have to say, Johnson?

These ignorant, savage people.

They — They no understand that —

Ah, sir. Excuse me one moment, sir.

I think you wait for this, sir.

Yes, by God, at last.

Lord Rudbeck, sir. Our case.

Yes, a-another time, I'm afraid. I have things to do.

Away, you undereducated dogs!

Away! Away!

Go. Can't you see Lord Rudbeck is thinking?

Away. Make they go.

Excuse, sir.

Maybe you could advance me one small small portion of next pay.

Sorry, Johnson, you know the rules. You'll just have to be more prudent.

Oh, I will, sir. But I just got married, sir.

Look, Johnson, you know what'll happen.

Next month, there'll be another advance and so on.

Sorry. Bad idea.

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

Oh, you big, bloody fool, Johnson.

Johnson, why you so bloody late?

Eh? Ah, go away.


You know what this is, Johnson? No, sir.

A prismatic compass.

Isn't she a beauty? Oh, yes, sir.

It'll make one fine road.

Yeah. Great thing, a road, Johnson.

Great thing.

When you've made a road, you know you've done something.

You've — You've — Well, you can see it.

You can see that it's all been worth something.

Yes, sir. I agree for your beautiful road.


It's not going far, I'm afraid.

No bloody money.

Maybe we think of something, sir.

A big road bring in plenty trade.

That's it, Johnson. Precisely.

Yes. Not much hope for that, I'm afraid.

You can do it, sir. Join the big north road.

The mighty road to Kano.

The great north road?

That's a hundred miles, Mr. Johnson.

Fourteen rivers in the way.

Now kindly return to the paperwork department.

Oh, yes, sir. I bring you this.

Oh, yes. That's very thoughtful of you, Johnson.

Very thoughtful of you. Thank you.

My friend, Lord Rudbeck and me... we are going to build a mighty road.

100 miles.

Oh, that's wonderful, Mr. Johnson.

Only 100 miles?

That should be easy.

More beer, Ajali.

And your bill. What of that? "What of that?"

More beer!

You silly sod!

I told you, didn't I? I told you!

You've been drinking my gin!

This bloody bottle was full! Bloody women!

A man should beat his woman.

Bloody Hausa women!

Do you beat your wife, Mr. Johnson?

In England, we do not beat our wives.

Huh. Hmph!

I told you!

♪ She round like the world, smooth like the water ♪

♪ Shine like the sky, sweet like the corn ♪

♪ Smell like the new grass ♪♪


Baba Brimah, where is Bamu?

But now my wife.

I done tell you. I go pay at the end of the month.

Bad bad fool, Johnson. Tsk.

Waziri. You fit with me to see the Waziri?

I hear your wife gone back to her parents.

Oh, no, Waziri. She has gone to see a friend.

I beg her to go.

Of course.

And Brimah — you owe him money.

And many others.

What can I do? I haven't got a penny.

I could lend you money to pay these low rascals.

Oh, Waziri. I should thank you 10,000 times.

Fetch me the aloe, Saleh my sweet one.

Can't you see I'm busy?

Ah, ah. I must sign.

Of course.

The money is going to come from the native treasury.

But that is forbidden.

Will Judge Rudbeck see this? Who knows?

We are all in the hands of God.

Perhaps, instead... there is a small service you could perform.

"In my view, the Waziri is the only intelligent member of the council."

"As you know, he is fluent in English.

But regrettably... in both this language and his native Hausa... he never stops plotting and is a skillful liar.

Oh. You cannot trust a word he says."

Oh! Terrible!

Terrible! Oh, terrible, terrible.

Does the judge really say that?

It gets worse.

"I suspect that he shares the emir's distaste for British advisers."

Do I read more? No, no, no, no.

If the emir should hear this — You will get another flogging, old man.

That will kill me.

Last time you had to lie on your face for seven days.

So my debts will be paid?

Y-Yes, of course.

Oh, thank you, Mr. Johnson.


Suli tells me he's got no money to pay the men.

How much do we have left?

Fourpence, sir.


Bloody fourpence?

Why in God's name didn't you tell me?

But you said to tell you when all finished, sir.

Oh, for God's sake, Mr. Johnson.

I wouldn't have sent a hundred men out on a clearing job.

That's about five pounds a day.


Oh, well, that's it then.

Bloody bureaucracy.

Suli, tell the men to pack up and go home.

Oh, no, sir. No, sir.

I think you build the road. What?

You take 'em from one of the other votes.

"Take 'em"? Take what?

The money, sir. Look.

Plenty money for uniforms.

You write voucher for this... but spend it on the road.


Here, sir. The grant for the new native court.

What about it?

You just paint the old one. Use the money.

Government never know.

Here, sir.

There's 3,000 pounds left in the treasury budget.

That's not road money though. No, sir.

But you use it now, and next year when the new money come... you write all the road vouchers... but the road already finish.

Suli, get 'em working.

Suli, through there.

Merry Christmas to you, sir.

Merry Christmas to you, Mr. Johnson.


Have a piece of plum pudding.


Thank you, sir.

My mother sent it from Hertfordshire.

That Hertfordshire, one of the most beautiful village back home.

Oh, darling. Ah.

How are you? Mmm. How was the trip?

Well, you know. A bit tiring.


Harry, I expected to see you at the station. In Jos.

Uh, I have to build this road, you know.

Before it rains.

Oh. I thought we'd be in a town.

Well, we will be, darling. We're just here for a short while.

We will be.

Darling, uh, this is Mr. Johnson. Oh.

My heart is big with happiness, ma'am.

All these people agree for you... too much.

Thank you.

How charming.

Johnson made this house for you. Otherwise, we'd be under canvas.

It's-It's wonderful.

Ah. Rather.

And what's in here?

That, ma'am, your latrine.

Your own lady latrine.

Oh, I see. A kind of drawing room.

Hmm. Yes, ma'am.

Latrine, ma'am.

See, ma'am, with cover... you no catch foot in hole in the dark.

I see. Wonderful.

And I scrub your seat smooth... so you no scratch your leg at the back.

Thank you, Mr. Johnson. I think it's a beautiful arrangement.

Bamu, that Mrs. Rudbeck is a beautiful woman.

Her cheeks are as white as ivory.

And her breasts — Hey, my God!

Wait you see her breasts. It big like pumpkin, the two of them.

The king of England, he say wanted to marry her... but she refused.

Madam, this is our most wonderful butcher.

Settling in? I mean, really?

Yes, I'm loving it, darling.

I want to enjoy Africa.

Very good.

Johnson looking after you all right? Couldn't be sweeter.

He's a perfect host.

Harry, what is this?

This is peanut soup. Don't you like it?

Well, it's just peanuts in hot water.

Yes, I suppose it is.

Perhaps you could clean your teeth tonight having taken the pipe out of your mouth.

That would be a change.

I'm sorry, Celia. Sorry about what?

I'm sorry about all of this.

Are you?

You don't do anything about it.

"Do"? Well, what can I do?

I'm in bloody West Africa in the bloody bush.

This isn't Mayfair, you know. You don't have to tell me that.

What about that horrible peanut soup?

Peanut soup!

Any idiot can make vegetable soup, even in bloody West Africa!

Why don't you tell Jamesu what you want to eat?

He's not a chef at the Ritz. Oh, right!

Damn it.

You can go back home if you think you've made a mistake.

What mistake? Marrying me.

I know you think I'm a clod... because I read Edgar Wallace instead of Jane Austen... and I can't tell "God Save the King" from the-the marriage of bloody Figaro.

Oh, Ce, damn it. Harry.

Oh, darling. Harry.

Please let me come in there.

Darling, I love you. Oh, Harry.

I'm a beast, and you're working so hard.

Oh, damn — Blast!

Harry, be careful! Oh, bloody sheet!

You're on the wrong side of it. Oh!

Oh, tear it, Harry! Tear it!


Oh, Harry, oh!

Shoulder... arms!

General salute. Present... arms!

Shoulder... arms!

Mr. Tring.

Sir, I thought you not coming till next month.

Are you clerk Johnson?

Yes, sir. You're late.

Uh, sir, but the clock is fast.

That clock has stopped.

Where is Mr. Rudbeck?

At the roadhead, sir.

For how long? One more week, I think.

And you are in charge of the office in his absence.

Yes, sir.

So... this is all your work.

Oh, yes, sir. I myself keep all the accounts.

There seem to be quite a few anomalies.

Oh, yes, sir.

The actual budget for the road was used up last September.

So how are all these payments made?

Uh, from the annual budget, sir.

You mean you just took the cash you needed?

Oh, yes, sir. Every penny went on the road.

And you falsified the cashbook?

Oh, sir.

When the new money come, we replace all we took before.

Oh, I see.

You understand, Mr. Johnson... you have committed embezzlement and forgery.

Oh, wonderful. Nothing like a woman's touch.

Settling in, Celia? Oh, yes. Soon I'll be an old Africa hand.

Ah, not for quite a while.

Jamesu, make more — Pretty girl.

And get some water. Understand? Yes.

Never had much time for women myself.

Might have missed something there. Yes, sir.

Of course, the last thing I want is to cause any trouble for Rudbeck.

Oh, quite. Quite.

But one has a certain duty... and regulations have been so definitely ignored, sir.

I understand.

But then if we'd all followed regulations...

I daresay we wouldn't have an empire.

It's a good road, Harry. First-rate.

Yes. Well, bloody Tring has stopped it now.

Yes, well, he's going by the book.

There's no doubt, Harry... that Tring is an officious little — Well, he's very zealous. Oh.

He's quite likely to report you to Whitehall... and that could harm your career.

What can be done? Well, there has to be a scapegoat.

You better sack that clerk of yours, um — Johnson?

Johnson. Well, he did all the books, didn't he?

Yes, but he was acting for me. I mean, it's my responsibility.

He's only a clerk, for heaven's sake. You can get another one.

Have you heard, friends? He has turned me out.

That Mr. Tring. Me!

Johnson, the chief clerk of Fada... and a friend of Judge Rudbeck...

Now — Now I'm going to be a trader — the richest in Fada... and my wife, Bamu... will have clothes like the queen of England... and silver bangles as big as ropes.

And beads as black and shiny... as a new cashbox.

And red paint for her nails and cigarettes.

Cigarettes with gold ends.

Mr. Johnson. My friend. Come now. It's all right.

It's okay, it's okay. Come here. Ben — Benjamin.

It's okay. He's turned me out.

It's okay. Come on.

That Mr. Tring — It's all right. It's all right.

Now, this cloth is from Amsterdam, Mrs. Rudbeck.

I mean, none of your rubbish here. This is not for your natives.

Seems a little bright.

Yes, you're absolutely right. It is a little bright. What good taste you have.

This, for instance, I think is more you.

This is the finest Egyptian cotton. Have a feel of that.

Hmm. It seems a little... coarse.

She's at sentiment, Mr. Johnson. Ajali?

Ajali! Eh, you two.

More work, less chat.

Right, you got them totals yet? Coming, sir.

That's two shillings and eight.

But minus seven.

Oh, you nigs. Look, give it here. Just give it to me.

Right, now, it's seven and a half percent, all right?

Yes. Now, that is seven pounds, ten shillings... in every hundred pounds, right?

2,730 hides... at two shillings a hide — Sargy, the total is...

273 pounds.

What? You sure?

Yes, Sargy. Net.

Yes. Oh, yes.

That's what I thought.

Get on with it.

This your fata away. They try and sell me.

No they good, oh. They good, oh.

They no good. They good.

They good. They good.

Look, only fit give you sixpence.

No, no, shilling. Shilling?

No be give you shilling for this — No, shilling.

Shilling for what? Yes.

Sixpence. Look, if you no like 'em, make you they come, carry your thing, then go.

Hmm. And take 'em now.

Take 'em. Give me the sixpence.

Eh. Take 'em. Go.

You just bought them hides, have you, Johnson?

Ah, yes, sir.

One shilling a hide, sir.

Very good, sir.

Come here, lad.

Come on, come on, come closer.

Here, take hold of those.

I did not touch you, did I?

No, sir.

I was in the store, wasn't I?

Yes, sir. In the store.

So, what happened to you? My face got a blow.

It what?

No! I had an accident.

You are a very clever geezer, Johnson.

You had a accident to your nose.

Good morning, all. Good morning, Sargy.

Lovely day. Real nice one. Oh, yes.

Come here, lad.

Well, come on then. I'm not gonna bite ya.

So, how are things with you today, Mr. Johnson?

Very good, sir. Thank you, sir. I feel most well.

Oh, that's good. That is good.

I like you, Johnson, but I had to thump you... because I know you are making a tidy profit off of them hides.

Now, that's all right, because so am I.

But, Sargy, I never — You're a good sort, Johnson.

Well, I mean, you know, for a nigger, that is.

But I mean, you can't help what you are, can you?

I mean, God made niggers, didn't he?

Just the same way that he made warthogs and dog-faced baboons.

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.


Get your fat bum in here, at the double!

You're just a cow, aren't ya? An ungrateful cow.

I mean, I'm looking after you!


You no watchum.

Pay no attention. He's been drinking. He's not an educated man.

Let me tell you!

But he kill her! Oh, no. He will just break her arm.

Or smash her face little. That's all.

I'll knock your block off, sweetheart!


Get out of here! Get out of my bloody sight! Go on!

You bloody nigs!

You don't know what it costs us to live here.

Of course, then you ain't — you ain't got the same kind of feelings, have ya...

as a white man?

Bloody nigs.

Got him!


My Bobby... my boy back home in England...

I tell you, Johnson... he's gonna join the army like his dad... or I'll know the reason why.

Oh, yes.

I think he be a general, sir. Marry a princess.

He won't! Bloody brass hats? Oh!

No, he'll stick with his regiment, my Bobby... like his old dad.

I mean — I mean, look what the regiment has done for me, you know?

That's right, Sargy. You a fine man.

Oh, yeah, yeah.

Come and have a drink. Come on. Come sit down and have a drink.

You see, the whole trouble — the trouble with old England is... is too much snobs with money.

And the workers don't stand a chance.

Mmm. Poor Mr. Rudbeck, he work.

He build that great road.

But that treasurer, that Mr. Tring... who got all those millions of gold — I mean, look. Just look what the army's done for England, right?

I mean, there's not a bloody country in this world... where we have not laid down our lives for the empire.

God mind you, not that I'm complaining.

Oh, no, no.

No, it-it's our duty... laid down by — by God Almighty.

To freedom.

The empire.

We English people... make freedom for all the world.

Make them good schools for all people.

All people learn book.

Learn to agree for each other.

I say it again to you, Johnson.

You're too good for a nig.

It is a pity you're a nig.

I mean, you should have been born one of them higher races... with intelligence.

Oh, sir, I a true Englishman in my heart.

♪ Up to mighty London ♪

♪ Come a Irishman one day ♪

♪ As the streets are paved with gold ♪

♪ Why, they was oh so gay ♪

♪ Singing songs of Piccadilly ♪

♪ Strand and Leicester Square ♪

♪ Till Paddy got excited ♪

♪ And he shouted to them there ♪

♪ It's a long way to Tipperary ♪

♪ It's a long way to go ♪

♪ It's a long way to Tipperary ♪

♪ To the sweetest girl I know ♪

♪ Good-bye, Piccadilly ♪

♪ Farewell, Leicester Square ♪

♪ It's a long, long way to Tipperary ♪

♪ But my heart's right there ♪♪

Mr. Johnson.


You take money from Sargy's cashbox.

Just advance on my wages.

You stole Sargy's keys?

No. I copy 'em. Make 'em myself.

But Sargy, if he finds out — Sargy in Onitsha at the market.

Not back till Sunday.

This is wrong, Mr. Johnson. I mean, you — No.

We have some beer, one or two drummers... and tonight we have small small party.

No, my friends. We all go inside Sargy's store.

We all go inside. No, Mr. Johnson, you can't!

Sargy Gollup will be very angry. You can't!

He not know, so it don't matter.

All inside for party!

♪ Out of the way, fool child ♪

♪ When Johnson go walkum, go walkum, go walkum ♪

♪ When Johnson go walkum, go walkum, go walkum ♪

♪ The whole world make path for him ♪

♪ All the same them lions in the forest ♪

♪ The forest, the forest, the forest, the forest ♪

♪ The whole sea go dry for him ♪

♪ All same that King Moses ♪

♪ Oh, Moses, oh, Moses, oh, Moses, oh, Moses ♪

♪ The whole sky go light for him ♪

♪ All same that fire for Moses ♪

♪ For Moses, for Moses, for Moses, for Moses ♪♪



I am gonna rip out your tripes... and hang them round your bleedin' neck!

I no afraid of you, Sargy Gollup.

You no fit hit me.

I no fit hit you?

I'm gonna bleedin' murder you, you bastard!

What on earth is it, Waziri?

Clerk Johnson has killed the merchant Gollup.

You aren't murdered then?

No, I — I ain't.

Well, did Johnson attack you? Do you want to charge him?

No. Oh, everything's all right here, Mr. Rudbeck.

I had a... accident.

A accident to my nose.

Ah, well, ah, well, uh — That's all right then.

That's all right.

Good night.

Well, old son.

That's it, innit?

I mean, I-I can't have this sort of thing happening, can I?

I mean, not in public.

I mean, I've got to maintain discipline here, haven't I?

Otherwise, where would we be?

I'm giving you a month in lieu.

There you are.

I'm-I'm real sorry about this, Johnson. I really am.

You was the best nig I ever had.

I mean, treat 'em right, I always say... and they ain't half as black as they look.

You weren't never afraid of me, were you?

No. Never afraid of you, Mr. Gollup.

How many miles had you done before the rains?

Oh, about 30, sir.

Um, Fada is here...

Mm-hmm? and we're about at this point now, sir.

Well, that's very good.

And trade has gone up, Harry, just as you predicted, even though it's not finished.

Uh, well, the trouble is, sir, it looks like it might stay that way.

Hmm? What with that, um...

Tring controlling the vote. Ah.

You'd think we were asking him to spend his own bloody money.

Yes. Pity.

Thing is, it's the ones who can recite the rule book in their sleep... that get the promotion.

We're gonna have to be careful.

Mrs. Rudbeck. Cheers.

Judge Rudbeck, God grant you long life!

How do you do, sir?

The clock — I think it fast when it stop.

My God.

Johnson. Ha!

Mr. Johnson.

What the devil have you been doing to yourself? Lion taming?

Oh, no, sir. I've been in business.

Oh, yes?

Tailoring business?

All kinds, sir. Any kind of business.

But when I hear the road start again... sir, I think I come and see you.

Oh, yes, but I've only got laborers' jobs, Mr. Johnson.

I mean, sixpence a day. You can't work for that.

Oh, sir, I like that very much.


Celia, look.

It's Mr. Johnson.

I done tell you, Bamu.

Mr. Rudbeck my friend. Mmm.

Judge Rudbeck, I pray God you slept like a baby.

Thank you, Mr. Johnson.

You seem to get a lot of work out of your gang.

They're good men, sir. They want to make road too much.

Yeah. Drummers are a good idea.

Oh, thank you, sir.

Three shillings.

Three shillings.

Good morning, Mr. Johnson. Good morning, ma'am.

And what's this? For cattle?

Oh, no, ma'am. This is a zungo.

A zungo? What is a zungo?

For people, ma'am. Travelers on the road.

They stay here.

Oh, I see. It's like a hotel.

Yes, ma'am.

I thought people just slept in the bush. Oh, no, ma'am.

The bush full of lions and leopards and —

ghosts and werewolves.

Ghosts and werewolves?

Come now, Mr. Johnson, you don't believe that.

Oh, no, ma'am. I an educated man.

But it's going so bloody well.

Harry, if the vote is used up, the vote is used up.

There's only enough money here for another week or so.

We're in striking distance of the Kano road.


Better accept it, Harry.

There'll be another vote for the road next year.

We mightn't be here.

We might be transferred to another province.

Someone will finish the road.

And you started it, Harry. It's your achievement.

Mm-hmm. I suppose so.

Right. Well, I'm off.

I'll see you all next year.

Uh, full report's gone to the governor, sir.

Fine. Enjoy yourself.

Absolutely. Bye, Harry.

Safe journey.

Can't say I'm sorry to be getting out of this place for a while.

Mrs. Rudbeck.

Bye, all.

Sorry, Harry.

What is it, Johnson?

I think we build road, sir.

It's not on, Johnson.

You heard him.

Maybe we don't need money. Oh, don't be silly, Johnson.

These villagers around here aren't gonna work for bloody nothing, you know.

They're not stupid.

And this great road will make you all rich.

But to share in the riches, you must help us finish it.

All workers will receive free beer.

The speech is good... but the day is very hot.

No one wants to work.

It's a shame. Then there is no chance to win the prize.

Prize? What is this prize?

The village which clears the most bush gets the prize.

Five pounds.

Five pounds?

Who gets it? It is paid to the chief.


Down there.

Get down! Get down!

Mr. Rudbeck! Mr. Rudbeck, look!

We done joined the mighty north road.

♪ The king of Africa ♪

♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ The king of Africa ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ The king of Africa ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ The king of Africa ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ The king of Africa ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ The king of Africa ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ King road, king road ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ King road, king road ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ King road, king road ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ King road, king road ♪ ♪ King road, king road ♪

♪ King road, king road ♪♪

Hello, Johnson. What are you doing here?

I just looking at the road, sir, like you.


Greetings, lords.

God prolong you, Waziri.

Come to admire our road?

The road.

The road.

The emir, Lord Rudbeck, does not like the road.

No? Why not?

People from far away will travel down this road to Fada.

They will not know of our emir. They will not salute him.

They will bring ideas that the emir does not like.


Who knows when the spark will be lit... or how dry it will find the grass?

You don't understand, Waziri.

The people must have roads.

But why? Tell me why, Mr. Johnson.

Because it is civilized.

With a road, we civilize the people.

But why should they be civilized, Lord Johnson?

Because — Because all men like to be civilized.

Amadu of Bauchi.

Refused to repair his house wall, which overhangs the road.

Mmm? What does he say?

He said he was away trading and his sons neglected the wall.

All right.

Now that he's back, he has a week to fix the wall.

Levi, a trader from Abakaliki.

Assaulted the police, who arrested him for not paying in the zungo.


He declared he has already paid both his zungo fees.

Both fees?

You mean in two zungos. No, lord.

Both fees in the Fada zungo.

You mean he had cattle.

No, lord. I mean the lodging fee and the road fee.

What the devil is the road fee?

Ask him who he paid it to.

He paid it to the road boy.

Who the hell is the road boy?

Lord, the small boy who works for Mr. Johnson.


Judge Rudbeck. Good evening to you, sir.

Have you been stealing zungo money?

Oh, no, sir. I never think of such a bad thing.

This boy's been collecting something called a road fee.

A tax you invented yourself.

Oh, yes, sir. He-He make a little collection.

But to buy beer for laborers on the road.

You never took any of that money? Oh, sir, I forget.

Maybe I borrow two or three shillings.

Here. I put it all in my cashbook.

How did you pay your bill at Gollup's store?

Oh, sir, out from my pay.

What about one pound, two and sixpence for a canopy chair?

Uh, perhaps I borrow small small to pay my chair.

And the suits? And that bed?

Oh, God, Johnson, you'd steal the smell off a goat.

But I no steal, sir.

Maybe I borrow small small. But I pay it back.

These are serious charges, Johnson.

Embezzlement and sojan gwona.

You know what that is?

It's the collection of money by pretending to be a government official.

You my good friend, Mr. Rudbeck.

I did it all for you.

I'm not arresting you... but I want you out of here.


It's all that wretched road. Wretched road? What do you mean?

Well, it's changing everything.

Lorries, markets, people flooding in.

Look at the pressure it put on poor Mr. Johnson.

God, sleepy old Fada will never be the same again.

Probably just as well. Harry!

I mean it! Do you think we should come here and say...

"How quaint," and leave it at that?

They were all happy enough. Who asked you to change things?

What is the good of roads?

I spent too long on that road, Bamu.

But now...

I'll go into trade.

I'm going to be a rich man.

I a bold and daring man.

Going to take care of you and my little boy here.

I love you too much, Bamu.

I love you stronger than the tree grows.

I love you more than the sun fills the air.

Nothing has happened.

What are you doing?

But she's my wife. She my sister.

Bamu, you no want to go.

I'm just about to make you rich.

Stop! Stop.

Please, wait small small time.

I know how I go get all the money where I owe you.

Brimah, please.

Bamu, I go buy you a-a new bed.

A bed of gold, with silver legs.

And the net gonna be of fine silver thread, all laced together.

Please, stay here.

They say Judge Rudbeck has turned you out.

It is false. I left my work on the road. That's all.

Is that so?

Waziri, I need small small money.

Money? From me?

Waziri, after all I have done for you.

The judge's letters.

But the judge has dismissed you.

What can you do for me now?

You rubbish.

Coming here so late with such nonsense!

Beat him. Don't kill him. Just cripple him.

You stay right where you are, you thieving —


Here, what you... playin' at?

What on earth is it, Waziri?

Clerk Johnson has killed the merchant Gollup.

Oh, God. Not again.

Tell your men to contact — and report any strangers in the area — Yes, sir.



Bamu, I'm hungry.

I haven't eaten anything for days.

Thank you.

Mmm. You're a good wife, Bamu.

The best wife in Africa.

Okay, make you chow finish. Make you the go.

I no want make my brother see you.

Waziri say he gonna give big money to any person where find you gone.

Bamu, one day I will — No, no, Mr. Johnson.

Make you the go.

Get up, you son of a dog! I'm not the son of a dog.

I'm an English gentleman.

And no English gentleman would walk barefoot... through a disgusting town.

Allahu akbar.

Allahu akbar.

Mr. Johnson! Mr. Johnson!

Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson!

Mr. Johnson! Johnson!

Mr. Johnson.

Saleh. What do you do here?

That old man, the Waziri, he was always touching me.

I pushed him away.

He got angry and says I am a thief.

It is all a lie.


The Waziri's friend. Hey!


This boy used to possess such power, and now — It makes you think, oh.

Poor Saleh.

Johnson, my feet hurt with the rough ground.

Give me your shoes.

My best English shoes? Don't be so cruel and selfish.

What good are they to you?

In two days, they will hang you.



Go on, Johnson.

Oh, sir, I guilty. I kill poor Sargy Gollup.

Don't write that, Muhammad.

Don't plead guilty.

Not guilty. We'll call it not guilty.

I guilty. I think I save you trouble.

Did you mean to kill him then? Oh, no, sir.

I agree for him too much.

I didn't want to hurt Sargy one little bit.

But before, you said you picked up the paper file... and stabbed him.

Oh, sir, I just didn't think what I was doing with that thing.

Johnson, I want you to understand.

If you plead the killing was an accident, that's one thing.

But if you lost your head, that's another.

A thief who kills to get himself out of a corner... is still guilty of murder in the first degree.

♪ I got a little girl ♪

♪ I got a little girl ♪

♪ She round like the world ♪

♪ She smooth like the water ♪♪

All right, let me see. Uh — We know the coins are 25 pounds each... and the jam is— Or what is it? Peas.

Peas are 11 pounds, so — How much I weigh, sir?

Fifteen — Well, I make it, uh...

10 stone, seven.

That looks about right.

Why you weigh me, sir?

Regulations, Johnson.

Take those off, will you, Sergeant? Yes, sir.

Excuse me, sir.

I beg your pardon for troubling you.

You gonna hang me, sir?

Who said anything about that?

Nobody, sir. I guessed myself.

You my good friend.

You my father and my mother.

I think, perhaps, you shoot me.

I no like hang.

I'm sorry, Johnson. I have to obey the law.

I shall have to sign a piece of paper to say that I carried it out exactly.

General salute, present... arms!

Shoulder... arms!


Mr. Benjamin!

God give you health. Good day, Mr. Johnson.

Morning, Mr. Johnson. God prolong — God give you peace.



From England. From home.

The best whiskey in the world.

Uh — Mr. Rudbeck, he-he came to the store.

He said that we should give that to you.

But why should he — Of course, he's going to hang me today.

He is too good to me.

Uh, drink some whiskey, Mr. Johnson.

No, no. You have it.

You my friends.

It will cheer you up.

But I'm cheerful.

I don't care to take anything.

You have it.

I say this, Mr. Johnson: You brave.

Very sorry to say good-bye. I sorry too.

I don't mind dying... but I don't want to say good-bye.

Sir, prisoner ready and we dig a grave in the bush, sir.

Very good, Sergeant.

Good morning, Mr. Rudbeck.

God bless you.

I'm sorry about this, Johnson.

Yes, all this make plenty trouble for you, sir.

Johnson... you remember that advance you asked for?

Oh, yes, sir.

If I had given it to you... would it have made any difference?

Sir, I'm much more bad than even you think.

I sell your papers to Waziri.

I very bad low trash.

Good for nothing at all.

Sir, if you no fit shoot me... then hang me yourself.

I not agree them sergeant do it.

He not my friend.

You my friend.

♪ Who dare say ♪

♪ Mr. Johnson afraid? ♪

♪ What that mean ♪

♪ "Afraid?" ♪

♪ Is it good to eat? ♪

♪ Is it good to drink? ♪

♪ Is it like a man's blood when I drink it up? ♪

♪ What that mean ♪

♪ "Afraid"? ♪

♪ Show me some 'fraid ♪

♪ I don't know ♪

♪ I don't know ♪

♪ I don't know ♪

♪ Nothing about afraid ♪

♪ I think he be ♪

♪ Old savage word ♪

♪ I think he be ♪♪ Oh, Lord.

Thank you for my friend Mr. Rudbeck.

The biggest heart in the whole world.

General salute, present... arms!