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Killing Heat (1981)

Gräset sjunger (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 10 September 1982 (Sweden)
In the 1940s, a city girl moves from America to her husband's failing farm in Southern Rhodesia in colonial Africa. Unhappy and unhinged, she starts an affair with their black servant which leads to tragedy.


Michael Raeburn


Doris Lessing (novel), Michael Raeburn

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Black ... Mary Turner
John Thaw ... Dick Turner
John Kani ... Moses
Patrick Mynhardt Patrick Mynhardt ... Charlie Muller
John Moulder-Brown ... Tony Marston
Margaret Heale Margaret Heale ... Ellen Muller
Björn Gedda ... Sgt. Denham
Jan Nygren Jan Nygren ... Doctor
Vincent Mijoni Vincent Mijoni ... Boss' Boy
Ivy Miyanda Ivy Miyanda ... Moses' Wife
Reg Cornish Reg Cornish ... Mary's Boss
Gailos Shiyamba Gailos Shiyamba ... Samson
Kennedy Mungomba Kennedy Mungomba ... Fison
Martyn Hitchins Martyn Hitchins ... Harry
Wesley Kaonga Wesley Kaonga ... Dhlamini


In the 1940s, an American woman moves from the big city to Southern Rhodesia in colonial Africa with her future husband, who turns out to be a failing farmer, giving up all the comforts of cosmopolitan life. Life in the countryside finally takes its toll on her psyche, and she finds herself involved sexually with their black servant. Based on Doris Lessing's 1950 novel The Grass Is Singing. Written by Fryingham

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Not Rated | See all certifications »



Zambia | Sweden



Release Date:

10 September 1982 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Killing Heat See more »

Filming Locations:

Lusaka, Lusaka Province, Zambia See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Second time that the source novel "The Grass is Singing" (1950) by Doris Lessing has been filmed as it had been previously produced as an episode of Studio 4 (1962) about nineteen years earlier [See: Studio 4: The Grass Is Singing (1962)] it being first broadcast on 26th March 1962. See more »


[Muller and the police discover Mary's bloody body]
Charlie Muller: What do you know about this?
Tony Marston: Well, it's kind of hard to say. But I've got sort of an idea...
Charlie Muller: An idea? In this country, we don't like ideas. We like facts.
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User Reviews

Karen Black Gets Hot and Bothered in Africa
2 May 2010 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

In 1960, "Karen Black stars as a successful career woman based in South Africa. She falls in love (it says here) with a bush farmer and must give up the relative comfort of city life. The core of the film is her effort to assimilate herself into her forbidding new environment," according to the DVD sleeve description. Ms. Black does not adapt well to the African humidity. She transfers herself into a Southern belle and slowly expires. Since we see her death in the opening, before the flashback, no surprise. Slow. Very.

*** Killing Heat (9/18/81) Michael Raeburn ~ Karen Black, John Thaw, John Kani, John Moulder-Brown

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