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White Mischief [Reino Unido] [DVD]

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Elegant tale based on James Fox's book about the British colony living in Kenya's Happy Valley during the early days of WW2 and the true story of a husband's response to the local stud stealing his beautiful wife. Diana falls in love with Joss Hay (Charles Dance), who publicly flaunts his desire for Broughton's wife.

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Amazon.com: 46 opiniones
77 de 77 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
Social Rot, African Style 29 de noviembre de 2004
Por Douglas Doepke - Publicado en Amazon.com
Seldom has social rot been more beautifully photographed than here. It's 1940. Bombs are raining down on London, soldiers are dying across Europe, Hitler is on the rise, yet not a drop of alcohol is being spilled by the rich and idle colonialists of British east Africa. Time is spent drinking and gossiping, drinking and swapping mates, drinking and dancing, and drinking and cross-dressing. It's all really rather empty and boring, sort of a sub-Saharan "La Dolce Vita", summed up in the death-mask visage of the sumptuous Greta Scacchi. Once jealousy takes hold, it's fun to watch the emotions build and shake loose behind these perfectly mannered mannikins. Based on an actual murder case, the movie is salvaged from cliche by the elegantly understated style of the film-makers, who know how to both seduce and make a subtle point. Two scenes stay with me. A black man-servant sets up targets for practicing colonialists and narrowly escapes being shot in the process. The episode passes quickly, but it's evident the elitist whites take no notice of what almost happened -- a whole little world captured in one fleeting event. The other is the deathless and x-rated line -- "Oh my God! Not another f...king beautiful day." -- uttered by the super-jaded Sarah Miles as she surveys yet one more splendorous sunrise from the veranda of one of the film's many lush mansions. For contrast, there is John Hurt's scruffy and enigmatic "Gilbert", reputedly the richest man in Kenya, and a fascinating study in laconic reserve. What exactly is going on behind that wide-eyed stare and silent tongue -- envy? disgust? It's probably best that we never know. Anyway, this is an all-around first rate production that qualifies for permanent cult status and promises to remain with you long after the final scene has faded from view.
76 de 79 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
Decadence, depravity, and cold-blooded murder. 13 de agosto de 2004
Por Mary Whipple - Publicado en Amazon.com
Uninterrupted self-gratification was a way of life for the British ex-patriots who inhabited Happy Valley, an appropriately named enclave outside Nairobi, Kenya. Aristocrats and those wishing to marry them gravitated to the area as an escape from the Blitz in London in the early 1940s, bringing with them their sense of entitlement and their arrogance. Fervently embracing a new freedom from any semblance of responsibility, their level of depravity is almost unimaginable. Director Michael Radford, basing this film on James Fox's non-fiction book of the same name, brings to life some of this decadence and the never-ending search for pleasure--through sex, drugs, alcohol, never-ending wild parties, extramarital affairs, wife-swapping, and kinky perversions.

With the action centered on the amoral Diana Broughton (Greta Scacchi), young wife of elderly Lord Jock Broughton (played by Joss Ackland), the film highlights her bold and very public affair with handsome cad Joss Hay, Lord Errol (slimily played by Charles Dance), and the disillusionment and increasing jealousy of her aged husband. When Lord Errol is shot to death by a mysterious assailant while returning from a party, Lord Jock Broughton is arrested and tried, though he denies his involvement.

The complexities of Fox's book, which shows a large number of people with reasons to want Lord Errol dead, along with their interrelationships and intermarriages, are sacrificed here for the focus on Diana. Unfortunately, Diana and the other real people on whom these film characters are based led exceptionally shallow lives, so it is not surprising that Diana, Lord Errol, and their friends appear here to be flat and wooden, lacking in subtlety and development. This lessens the impact of the film by preventing the reader from identifying with the characters. Though Scacchi's Diana is strikingly beautiful and has several well-filmed nude scenes, she remains a complete mystery. Ironically, the only person who elicits sympathy is Diana's husband (played by Joss Ackland), as he betrays his disillusionment, jealousy, and determination to soldier on with the marriage.

One of the few films which depicts Happy Valley as it probably was, this is fascinating and compelling viewing, but one watches it with a sense of revulsion at the behavior, and sadness that these aristocrats so boldly insulted Kenya's people and cultures by imposing their own. Beautifully filmed on location (by Roger Deakins), and showing the raw wildness of nature, the film vividly illustrates the decadence of Happy Valley's aristocrats ten years before the MauMau rebellion, which virtually eradicated this way of life. Mary Whipple
33 de 33 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
A decadent slice of colonial Africa 10 de agosto de 2002
Por J. Houzet - Publicado en Amazon.com
This is the decadent counterpoint to Out of Africa (both are good films). It's the story of British ex-pats drifting through their days in colonial Kenya. With all their money and boredom, the only thing that entertains them are parties, sex and drugs, sometimes all done together. This is the mischief these white folk get up to, while their black servants look on dispassionately but with certain disdain.
Charles Dance is wonderfully smarmy as the playboy who wins Greta Scacchi's affections. She is the young beauty who married an older man for title and money, but has no love for him. It's shameful to see how brazen Dance and Scacchi are in their affair. The old husband does what any man with pride left would do. You can almost feel the British Empire crumbling around you as you are absorbed by this movie, in much the same way as A Passage to India (another great film).
Great supporting performances by Sarah Miles and Geraldine Chaplin as part of the high society swingers.
I was fortunate to find this video on sale second hand at my local video store.
44 de 46 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
by the way, its a true story 13 de abril de 2003
Por E Rice - Publicado en Amazon.com
Compra verificada
this movie is based on a history of the same title. the events were, more or less, as presented in the film. of course, the real people weren't quite as beautiful, and the sordidness wasn't quite as photogenic.
africa, like australia and new zealand, was where the 'remittance' men were sent by their families, to remove the scandals from the homefront. these sometimes extremely black sheep were sent, by the families who could afford it, 'remittances' (money) to keep them in the colonies. in those days of difficult communication, they could get up to whatever mischief they wanted without embarrassing the home folks. the group in happy valley made the most of this.
the acting is superb. the sets are marvelous. the scenery is magnificent. charles dance is gorgeous. the story is gripping. what more could you ask for?
23 de 24 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
Actually, White Decadence 8 de septiembre de 2004
Por Robert Morris - Publicado en Amazon.com
This is on my list of somewhat inaccessible films (Inside Moves is another) which reward those who make the necessary effort to see it. (I do not recall either's appearance on television.) Based on James Fox's novel of the same name and ably directed by Michael Radford, White Mischief examines a colony of British expatriates near Nairobi in the 1940s. Blessed with an abundance of wealth and leisure, the hedonistic residents of "Happy Valley" seem determined to break as many of the Ten Commandments as possible and as frequently as possible. The primary focus of the narrative is on a triangular relationship which involves adulterous Diana Caldwell Broughton (Greta Scacchi), her betrayed husband Sir John Delves Broughton (Joss Ackland), and amoral Josslyn Hay, the 22nd Earl of Erroll (Charles Dance). Of special interest to me is the revelation of the nature and extent of decadence within their culture. Inevitably, Hay is found shot to death. Sir John is the obvious suspect and brought to trial but several other husbands share the same motive. The quality of the acting throughout the supporting cast is outstanding (notably John Hurt, Sarah Miles, Trevor Howard, and Geraldine Chaplin), as is Roger Deakins' cinematography. When co-authoring the screenplay based on Fox's novel, Jonathan Gems and Frederick Raphael seem to have been influenced by the Marquis de Sade, Evelyn Waugh, Billy Wilder, and Nathanael West.

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