Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom, 1955. Group Film Productions Limited. Screenplay by John Baines, based on the novel by Anthony Perry. Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth. Produced by Peter De Sarigny. Music by Francis Chagrin. Production Design by John Howell. Costume Design by Doris Lee. Film Editing by Michael Gordon.
Terrific British film that addresses the effects of colonialism and the damage done to an oppressed civilization. British citizens in Kenya are thrown into a terror when a group of native radicals form a vigilante squad that executes British farmers in an effort to end colonial rule. Newcomer Dirk Bogarde has just arrived to come and live with his brother only to find him murdered on the day of his arrival. Neighbour and old flame Virginia McKenna tries to fight the racism of Bogarde and her family by insisting that the actions of a few should not be allowed to represent all Africans, but her protests fall on deaf ears and the eventual result is chaos. Beautifully photographed (both at Pinewood Studios in London and on location) and superbly acted, directed and written, this film doesn’t flinch from pointing out that the Empire’s self-righteous attitude towards its conquered nation is exactly what leads to its own downfall. Seeing farmers talk about Africa as their property because of their “natural” superiority is a more hard-hitting look at the effects of colonialism than most films set in Third World Countries are generally willing to take on.