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Four of Somerset Maugham's short stories are brought to the screen with each introduced by the author himself. In the first story, The Facts of Life, a young man with great potential on the... See full summary »
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When Alan Howard, a young Englishman, arrives in Kenya to visit his older brother on his farm he finds the latter has been brutally murdered by the Mau Mau. He decides to go on exploiting the farm and to fight the rebels with all his energy. He falls in love with Mary, the daughter of a settler who lives close to his estate. Although the young woman shares his love she disapproves of Alan's hatred of Blacks. Alan will eventually mellow after Dr. Karanja, a native physician, sacrifices his life to prevent the slaughter of a group of white settlers. Written by
One of my biggest complaints about American cinema films concerning Africa is that they are complete pulp fiction and give us no real understanding of the continent. How could it since we have no real ties, even colonial ones with Africa. Simba however which is British made and shot on actual location in Kenya Colony which it was at the time this film was made is a good insight to the problems of an Empire in its last gasp and they knew it.
Kenya took longer than most of sub-Saharan Africa to be free because of the Mau Mau rebellion. But free it became within a decade of Simba reaching the screen. Dirk Bogarde stars as a young man come to Africa to work with his brother on the family farm in Kenya. But on his arrival he discovers that the brother has been murdered by the Mau Maus.
This does engender some racial attitudes in Bogarde, understandable to say the least. Seeing the better angels of Africa's nature is Virginia McKenna the daughter of neighboring farmers Basil Sydney and Marie Ney. Dealing with it from a military point of view is Donald Sinden in charge of the local constabulary which also is staffed with native troops.
These players and the rest of Simba's film crew took their lives in their hands going there to make this film. Another American film on Africa, Safari with Victor Mature and Janet Leigh, also dealt peripherally with the Mau Mau movement and was shot there a year later. This is the better product by far.
Mention must also go to Earl Cameron playing the European educated black doctor who is caught between the white colonials and his own natives and this violent outbreak which is harming all. Cameron delivers a fine performance, his is the voice of emerging Africa and Kenya in particular.
Don't miss this one if it's broadcast.
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