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Kristin Scott Thomas,
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 »
On the home video VHS version of the film, a jazzy, swing style period song is substituted over the End Credits. In the original theatrical release, "The Alphabet Song" sung by Sarah Miles was used. On the UK DVD from Sony CDR11476, The Alphabet Song is back, along with the score by George Fenton. See more »
A worthwhile and sexy retelling of a famous murder-mystery case.
Circa World War II a grisly - but rich- old buffer and his far-too-young-for-him wife enjoy the high life in Kenya's Happy Valley. However their happiness proves sadly short lived. Based on a famous true life case.
Interesting approach to the "central" crime-celeb subject. While many would have plunged straight in to the murder-mystery to get the movie off with a bang - not here. This is a lesson in restraint.
This film seems to view the crime of secondary importance to atmosphere and the establishment of character and order. This is probably wise, because the mystery part of the crime is rather weak and one-sided. Especially in the manner the story is told.
(While tying to be true to the facts there is more nodding and winking going on here than in a New York gay bar!)
You can't complain about production values and acting, they are only of the very first order. Charles Dance was an actor born in to the wrong age - if the studio system had got a hold of him they could have turned him in to a superstar. He doesn't have enough to do here - but he does this "cad" act well enough.
Kenya is made to look like heaven on earth - if you are white and well off that is. Here life is one big party with plenty of sun, sea and sex - with an army of cheap black labour to do any real work.
The gin and tonic set form their own little England allowing the sex games to go on a bit further than at home because there are no prying eyes.
If any movie showcased Scacchi's ample prime-time charms is this one. I don't know if the lady is a naturist in real life, but she never looks that bothered about whether she is wearing clothes or not. Her classy English accent further convinces you that if any woman was worth killing over it is her.
(In interviews she talks about the audience getting tired of seeing her breasts!)
Watching the film is rather like watching the film Titanic. You realize that everything you see is going to be destroyed, while those on the screen sail on without a care in the world.
If the central crime had been more interesting and more ambiguous I might have enjoyed it more. A clear case of a film being rather weighed down by being based on facts rather than having the freedom of total fiction.
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