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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The storming of the Naivasha Police Station by the Mau Mau was an actual event used by Robert C. Ruark in his book, on which the film was based. The incident was needed for the film but, rather than travel the 50 miles to Naivasha for the original building, a mock-up of the police station was made in the industrial area of Nairobi. Before the actual filming started chickens were thrown into the road outside the mock-up to give some authenticity. See more »
Not a bad film but the novel would definitely deserve a remake
Having spent a good part of my childhood in East-Africa, I read Robert Ruarks novel Something of Value" (and the semi-follow-up Uhuru") numerous times while living in Tanzania and for a while it was among my favorite novels. It had elements of Hemingway, Mitchell, being adventurous at times, historically interesting and during many parts extremely violent and shocking. The movie I saw only a few years later and was not too impressed.
The story is relatively straight-forward and simple: two African boys, Peter (son of a white settler) and Kimani, a native Kikuyu have grown up together almost like brothers. As time goes back, the friends drift apart. Peter becomes a safari-guide and Kimani, disillusioned by the white rule of Kenya and still bearing a grudge against Peters brother-in-law Jeff joins the Mau-Mau movement, who seek to take control over the country and eject / butcher the Whites. Soon the former best friends become each others mortal enemies and will have to face off in a fight to the death.
Some people claimed, that the book is oversimplified and much of the cruelty (generally committed by the Mau-Mau, which are portrayed as a form of terrorist guerrillas, who soon didn't distinguish any longer between butchering their enemies, the Whites, or Kikuyu who opposed to disagreed with their methods. Be that as it may, there has been enough violence and brutalities in more recent years, in Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda etc, should be telling that the Mau-Mau uprising was probably by no means a gentle affair. Quiet the opposite.
As for the movie: for the time it must have been slightly more violent than most pictures, but doesn't even get close to the horrors of the book (and reality). Compare to contemporary films, for example, "Blood Diamond", "Something of Value" still feels like it has been produced in a Hollywood studio, despite having been filmed in Africa. Furthermore I was not at all comfortable with the actors, despite me appreciating both Rock Hudson and Sidney Poitier. Especially Hudson is way too squeaky clean for the role, the American accent is atrocious (again, it point to "Blood Diamond" and the excellent job Leonardo DiCaprio did with imitating a Rhodesian accent), not for one moment could one imagine Hudson being anything but an American actor put into a safari-suit. Sure, Poitier does a far more convincing job (especially the accent) but again, looks nothing like an African from this part of the continent.
It would also be unfair to say that the rest of a crew did a bad job, but one would really wish for a remake (this coming from somebody who has a general dislike for the concept of remakes, reboots, etc), something grittier, more realistic and it's not that there is a shortage of capable African actors of all colors these days. After all, it's not that the novel has lost anything of value and isn't as contemporary as when it was written.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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