This week on the Open Book Blog Hop we’re discussing why we like a favourite movie.
I devour any films starring Robert Redford. Over the years he has acted in classic films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Great Gatsby, Barefoot in the Park, The Sting, The Horse Whisperer, and Indecent Proposal, to name but a few. However, my favourite of all his films is Out of Africa.
Out of Africa has it all for me; a true story (although doubtless embellished), a wonderful soundtrack which brings tears to my eyes, and beautiful cinematography, and of course Mr Redford shining as Denys Finch Hatton, the entrepreneurial safari guide, ivory hunter, would-be-aviator and free spirit who steals Karin Blixen’s heart.
Karen Blixen, played by Meryl Streep, travels from Denmark to Kenya at the beginning of the last century to marry her second cousin Baron Bror Von Blixen, a Swedish writer, big game hunter, and lovable rogue who unfortunately is rather too fond of the ladies. Together they plan to run a coffee plantation on behalf of her family. However, things don’t go quite to plan. Karen finds herself attracted to Denys, and Bror has many affairs, eventually culminating in Karen acquiring a dose of syphilis, necessitating a trip back to Denmark to recuperate. She returns to Kenya, grants Bror a divorce to marry a rich heiress, carries on running the coffee plantation, and begins a love affair with Denys Finch Hatton until tragedy strikes.
The film has some wonderful lines. When Bror asks Karen for a divorce, Karen tells him that she will have to accuse him of something. Bror says “Fire away. Whatever. I have surely done it.” He gives a little smile, and you just know he has! Also when Bror realises Denys and Karen are lovers, he says to Denys ‘You might have asked.” Denys replies “I did. She said ‘yes'”.
Denys takes Karen on safari, but first there is the scene where dressed in a brand new safari suit, Karen comes across a lion. Her rifle is still on her horse, but Denys appears in the nick of time, knowing how to make the lion retreat. He says to Karen afterwards “Does that suit come with a rifle? You’d better keep it on you; your horse isn’t much of a shot.”
The hair washing scene is legendary, also the combination of a beautiful soundtrack playing with the aerial shots over the plains of Kenya always make me cry. I can’t actually think of a better film, although The Horse Whisperer comes a close second.
There are some real tear-jerking scenes. Karen stands over Denys’ grave and says ‘Take back the soul of Denys George Finch Hatton, whom you have shared with us. He brought us joy and we loved him well. He was not ours; he was not mine.” The scene that also fills me up is when the coffee plantation fails and Karen goes back to Denmark and has to say goodbye to her servant Fahrad. Fahrad is obviously devastated and says to Karen ‘You remember when we used to go on safari and I would always go on ahead and build a fire. You would see it and come to this place.” Karen replies that she must travel far away, and that Fahrad would not like the country. Fahrad asks her to make a very big fire so that he can see it from Africa. Sob!!!
Rent it, buy it or download it. You won’t regret it!
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