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Edward F. Cline
Lydia Yeamans Titus,
Even though Peter and Kimani grow up together, Kimani soon finds that different races are treated differently. After the father of Kimani is jailed for following tribal customs, Kimani joins a band of rebels that wants all non-Kenyans out of their country. While Kimani believes in the cause, he does not agree with the indiscriminate killing of women, children and those who will not join or agree with them. Peter, even after the deaths of his little sister and brother by the Mau Mau, still believes that there is a chance for peaceful co-existence. He believes that he can stop most of the killing if he can only reason with Kimani. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Rock Hudson himself drove the film crew round the Nairobi National Park, with the stand-in for his co-star next to him. The crew and game warden were in the back of the semi-open Land Rover. Although all the animals in the park were wild they were used to vehicles. Many shots of various animals were taken, including baboons. For the latter Hudson threw peanuts onto the front of the vehicle. One half-grown male, seeing the actual source of this food, jumped through the half-door onto Hudson's lap, stole some extra peanuts and even snatched a lipstick from the hand of the stand-in. Hudson grabbed the baboon by the scruff of the neck, calmly took back the lipstick and threw the animal out. See more »
This film is an interesting memento of a period seemingly long ago, but actually in the recent past. It raises some of the same questions brought to mind in "The Battle of Algiers," specifically, what methods is it justifiable to use to further a just cause, especially the cause of an oppressed people. Another question, should all members of the oppressor class, in this case whites of British ancestry and citizenship, be regarded and treated as oppressors, even if they are sympathetic to the cause of the oppressed? To its credit, the film doesn't oversimplify. One character, Matson, is a cardboard villain, but the whites are generally portrayed sympathetically. And, although at the time this film was made Kenyan independence was only six years away, it is clear that, to almost all the whites, independence and black majority rule are still unthinkable. It is clear that many of the whites regard the land as just as much theirs as it is the blacks'; most of them were born there. The film doesn't make a case for independence, just for equality of treatment.
The film moves along and is never boring. It tells a good story and is generally well acted. It's too bad that Rock Hudson didn't, or couldn't, attempt a British accent. Although it's clear that all the whites in the film are British, Hudson just moves right along with his American accent, quite un-self conscious about it all. (Maybe it's just as well; he might have ended up sounding as ridiculous as Marlon Brando in "Mutiny on the Bounty.") This is in stark contrast to Sidney Poitier, who manages an African accent quite well. Poitier is actually superb in his role; this was well before he assumed the persona of the saintly characters so superior to everyone else that he played to excess in the 60s. This film appears not to be available on video, so you'll probably have to wait until it appears on Turner Classic Movies again. 8/10
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