A millionaire past his prime and his young wife arrive in Kenya circa 1940 to find that the other affluent British expatriates are living large as the homefront gears up for war. They are ... See full summary »
A millionaire past his prime and his young wife arrive in Kenya circa 1940 to find that the other affluent British expatriates are living large as the homefront gears up for war. They are busy swapping partners, doing drugs, and attending lavish parties and horse races. She begins a torrid affair with one of the bon vivants, and her husband finds out and confronts them. The husband and wife decide to break up peacefully, but the bon vivant is murdered and all the evidence points to the husband. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The courtroom scenes include counsel shouting "Objection!" and the Judge replying "Sustained" or "Overruled" and occasionally ordering things "stricken from the record". These terms are routine in courts in the United States but are never heard in courts based on English jurisprudence, as was the case in colonial Kenya in 1941. See more »
WHITE MISCHIEF purports to tell the true story of a murder that shocked British colonials living in Kenya during the 1940s. It's a familiar milieu for those of us who've seen anything of GOSFORD PARK, DOWNTOWN ABBEY, etc., with slightly bizarre aristocrats wining, dining and, of course, sleeping together against a hedonistic backdrop of the pursuit of pleasure.
The problem with WHITE MISCHIEF is a simple one: the characters are all so dull. The pretty-but-vacuous lead character, played by Greta Scacchi, is a fine example of this; she has absolutely no depth or presence, nothing on which to centre the viewer's attention. The male cast members, particularly Joss Ackland and Charles Dance, are by far the more interesting, but even these have little to work with.
For fans of British cinema, WHITE MISCHIEF is worth catching thanks to the presence of numerous familiar faces, including Ray McAnally, Trevor Howard, John Hurt and Geraldine Chaplin. There are also turns for a couple of youngsters, Hugh Grant and Gregor Fisher, and an eye-popping cameo from Hammer starlet Jacqueline Pearce (THE REPTILE).
Sadly, though, I found this dull and sleep-inducing for the most part, despite the interest generated by the murder sub-plot. That and the subsequent court case are intriguing, as is Ackland at the climax, but the rest of the film is just an entirely forgettable example of the extraordinarily dull lives of the aristocracy and why they are best ignored for the most part.
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