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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 »
Based on the book by James Fox (not the handsome English actor of a certain age) this film remains hard to pin down: it's part murder mystery, part sociological study, part history of pre-WW2 East African colonialism, part romance, part dionysian orgy (really), part Evelyn Waugh/Somerset Maughm, part romance, part.... etc. etc. And it's all true.
Yes, the actors are more spectacular looking than their real life counterparts (particularly Scacchi, seldom more stunning.) Sarah Miles' strange character wafts through as most memorable of all in a rich ensemble set of louche decadents. (And yet the actress in real life admitted she may not have gotten a handle on the real woman, just an impression. Based upon my reading of Fox's and Trzebinski's books' accounts on the Alice de Janze, I'd have to agree. Nothing like her except the memorable quips and woozy flair.) Plus, most folks who didn't swim through the primo decadence of the 1960's firsthand might be appalled at what passes for entertainment in British colonial East Africa of the 1930'/40s. But what you'll get for your treasure hunt (this is a hard film to find) is the truth of a murder mystery, weird but real characters, a slice of history, all against the gorgeous panoply of Kenya, despite all its troubles one of the most beautiful spots on the entire planet, all shot on location right where the real events unfolded.
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