Based on the popular memoir by Elspeth Huxley, this tastefully produced mini-series waxes rhapsodic about the English colonial experience in Africa. In 1913, Robin Grant (David Robb) buys land for a coffee plantation in East Kenya; soon
afterward, his wife Tilly (Hayley Mills), and daughter, Elspeth (Holly Aird), emigrate from England to join him in his risky endeavor. The estate agent who sold them their property was less-than-forthcoming about the property's aridity, but Tilly stands by her man and sets about gluing together the pieces of another shattered pipe dream. Their neighbors are a difficult lot, and include ivory hunter Mr. Roos (Morgan Sheppard), who regards the locals with contempt, and Mrs. Nimmo (Carol MacReady), a nurse who treats them like primitive children. Hereward (Nicholas Jones) and Lettice Palmer (Sharon Mughan, latter famous for appearing in a popular series of Taster's Choice coffee commercials), another pair of married newcomers, conduct themselves as though Nairobi were an unfashionable suburb of London and face far worse challenges than the steady Grants. First, one of their servants, the usually docile Njombo (Mick Chege), slays a rival and the violence sends the Palmers’ field workers fleeing. Then great white hunter Ian Crawford (Ben Cross) comes to visit and catches Lettice's eye. While Tilly serves as mediator in a feud between Njombo and her head man, Sammy (Steve Mwenesi), Lettice tries not to break her marriage vows while on safari. The jealous Hereward accidentally sets off a buffalo stampede, seriously damaging his reputation among both his countrymen and the natives. The onset of World War I makes romantic disillusionment seems like small potatoes, and just as the Grant Family has begun to make a go of it, duty calls Robin home. Although veteran director Roy Ward Baker dawdles too long over the exotic flora and fauna, this remembrance of an exotic English childhood is driven by a gripping juxtaposition of native superstition and white men's folly. Seen through the eyes of a precocious youngster, this lushly photographed memory play provides meaty roles for the superb cast and offers former child-star Mills a rare adult showcase.
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- Released: 1981
- Rating: NR
- Review: Based on the popular memoir by Elspeth Huxley, this tastefully produced mini-series waxes rhapsodic about the English colonial experience in Africa. In 1913, Robin Grant (David Robb) buys land for a coffee plantation in East Kenya; soon afterward, his wif… (more)