Although Peter and Kimani grew up together, Kimani soon finds that different races are treated differently. After Kimani's father 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. Even after the Mau Mau murder his little sister and brother, Peter still believes that there is a chance for peaceful co-existence and that he can stop most of the killing if he can reason with Kimani.Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The starting credits start with the words: "When we take away from a man his traditional way of life, his customs, his religion, we had better make certain to replace them with Something of Value!" See more »
I first saw this movie at a Saturday afternoon matinee in 1957 at the age of ten. Seeing it 60 years later, I'm amazed that it was considered a suitable movie for children at a matinee in that era of rigorous censorship.
There is strong stuff in this film about the Mau-Mau insurrection in Kenya in the 1950's. It was a film I remembered vividly, especially the scenes of Mau-Mau rituals, but also for the haunting background music and for Dana Wynter who just seemed so perfect.
At the time, colonisation was ending. Britain, which had coloured so much of the globe pink, would sometimes just haul down the flag and sail away, but in some African countries with generations of white farmers and landowners, things were trickier.
That was the background to Richard Brook's film of Robert Ruark's novel.
Peter McKenzie (Rock Hudson) and Kimani (Sidney Poitier) have grown up together in Kenya, but find that their different skin colours and cultures are forcing them apart.
There is interesting information on the making of the film in "Tough as Nails: The Life and Films of Richard Brooks" by Douglas K. Daniel. Brooks and his crew went to Kenya and although some of the film was shot back in Hollywood, the location footage gave the film its authentic look. In an act not without danger, Brooks and Hudson went to a secret location to meet members of the Mau-Mau.
Brooks could be a bully and alienated cast and crew except for favourites such as Sidney Poitier whom he protected from discrimination in segregated Kenya. He was rude to Dana and harsh with Rock, but he created tension to get the reactions he wanted from the actors.
Miklos Rozsa, the epic film score maestro, came up with different music for this film. Composed mainly for chorus, sometimes male, sometimes female depending on the mood, it is a fascinating impression of African music and one of the most memorable things about the film.
"Simba", a British film about the Mau-Mau rebellion was made in 1955. Also shot in Kenya, it too featured Mau-Mau attacks on white farmers, but the whole thing seemed condescending towards the Kenyans while Brook's film is more even-handed with treachery and massacres on both sides.
Both films end with a scene of a Kenyan baby, symbolising the key to the nation's future.
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