Deprived of a normal childhood by her ambitious mother, Katie, Lillian Roth becomes a star of Broadway and Hollywood before she is twenty. Shortly before her marriage to her childhood ... See full summary »
When the great potato famine hits Ireland, the diaspora begins as thousands emigrate. Among those leaving the Emerald Isle is Katie O'Neill and her husband, who decide that the promised land is South Africa and make their way there. Once there, they discover the hardships that are the reality of the homesteader experience. To complicate matters, Katie meets up with the love of her life, Paul van Riebeck. Will there be betrayal on the veldt?Written by
Scarlett O'Hara tames the Veld, plus a few good men.
I was struck by the contrast between the many negative comments herein and the mostly very positive comments at the DVD release site at Amazon.com. Although I appreciate some of the criticisms, on the whole, I will agree with the positive reviews. YES. SEE IT!, either at YouTube or rent or buy the DVD(expensive).
As several reviewers observed, it's easy to see some parallels with "Gone With the Wind". But, it also reminds us of a wagon train western, in which Zulus replace the usual hostile Native Americans. The Zulus put on quite a show, both before and during their attack, with lethal throwing spears. Much of the film was shot on location in Zululand. However, I'm very surprised that we didn't see one untamed animal in the African portion! Despite this, the film is not deficient in action, as one claimed, unless you need action 90% of the time.
Susan Hayward, at Katie, certainly used men to get what she wanted. But, often, she was just trying to survive with a modicum of comfort, security and dignity. She shamelessly used surrogate husband Shawn as an aid in her ambition to reconnect with adventurer Paul(Tyrone Power), in emigrating from Ireland to South Africa. If Shawn hadn't been conveniently killed in the Zulu raid, I wouldn't be surprised if she found another way for him to die, so that she could hopefully reconnect with Paul. She exploited Kurt's(Richard Egan)infatuation with her, to help her run her homestead while Paul was off with his commandos. But she refused him the physical love he craved, and he lost a leg cutting down a big tree that he knew Katie cherished.(Served him right). While he might have been a first rate farmer in the veld before he donned his peg leg, judging by the way he slapped mistress Julia(Rita Moreno) around, I'm sure Katie was hesitant to marry him, even when he had 2 legs.
The plot is driven by the conflict Paul faced, in returning to lead his wandering commandos fighting for a Dutch Free State, or staying home, helping Katie work their homestead. For him, there was no question which took priority until the cause was finished. I lost count of the times Katie told him to buzz off with his buddies and never return. But, he always eventually returned and she always accepted him back.
Katie had a lot of spunk in improving her life when the opportunity presented itself. She lucked out trading some trifles to a native for a probable huge diamond in the rough. After cashing in, she bought the house that Paul had spent his childhood in. She lived lavishly there for several years, until her money ran out, with Paul a sometimes visitor, and discovering that he had fathered a son with Katie. Happily, her money ran out about the time Paul was finishing up his political obsession. Initially, she headed off to hopefully find some more diamonds, but she found that Kurt had since set himself up as the kingpin of a criminal gang who largely controlled the diamond trade in that region, and claimed he would eventually own all the towns in the Dutch Free State. Well, Paul and his commandos had something to say about that. Paul had stolen his love's heart and destroyed his criminal empire, so Kurt went to kill him. Guess what happened, in quite dramatic fashion.
Several reviewers accuse Susan of overacting here and elsewhere. I don't see it. At least, you know she's alive. We may cringe at Katie's sometimes devious ways, but she remained true to Paul, despite his periodic disappearances.
Those Irish horses must have been some kind of special that Paul would travel months from and back to South Africa to acquire them. Katie had to stage an incident that caused Paul's horse to throw him in order to get his attention away from horses and her father. Doesn't sound like it was love at first sight on his part! Then, she expects him to offer to take her back with him to Africa, which he claims wouldn't work out for her as long as he felt he had to lead the fight for independence of the Dutch Free State.
Power and Susan are rather wooden in the Ireland segment, but limber up some in the African segment. Power isn't among my favorite actors. He's usually too wooden and formal. In contrast, I like the acting of Richard Egan. Susan is somewhere in between.
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