Monday, December 05, 2011

Monday With Hayley Mills: Flame Trees of Thika

From 1984 comes this small entertainment show interview with Hayley Mills regarding her career, marriage and television drama The Flame Trees of Thika.

Based on a novel by prolific author Elspeth Huxley, Flame Trees documents the difficulties of an immigrant family adapting to a harsh African region, albeit one controlled by the British Empire. The dramatic struggles and hard-ships of the occupying population should be taken with a grain of salt and especially so in the film version. Much of the drama comes from what people today call First World Problems. Elspeth Huxley, taking from her own experiences growing up in Thika (pronounced Tee-ka), documented the negative effects of colonialism caused by various invading or meddling foreign countries. Perhaps given perceived audience sensibilities and time constraints the horrible social inequalities between cultures is somewhat thin, something the book explored in richer detail.

Hayley Mills and the rest of the cast does a good job with the material that was given them. I would have preferred that everyone stretched a bit more but this film was made for the purpose of entertainment, not education or to deliver a scolding. But maybe early 1980s Britain wasn't ready to have their past laid bare and exposed to them to the extent the mini-series could have done had it followed the novel a bit more faithfully.

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