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Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD]

Hayley Mills , David Robb , Carol MacReady    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Price: 5.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] + Out Of Africa [DVD] [1986]
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Product details

  • Actors: Hayley Mills, David Robb, Holly Aird, Ben Cross, Sharon Maughan
  • Directors: Carol MacReady
  • Producers: Verity Lambert, John Hawkesworth
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Fremantle
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Nov 2005
  • Run Time: 350 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BQJO46
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,674 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Based on the beloved autobiographical novel by Elspeth Huxley, BBC miniseries The Flame Trees of Thika brings an eventful childhood in Eastern Africa to vivid life. In 1913, 11-year-old Elspeth Grant (Holly Aird) traveled with her mother, Tilly (Hayley Mills), from England to Kenya to help build a coffee plantation. (Born in 1907, Huxley was actually six at the time.) Her father, Robin (David Robb), who had preceded them, was waiting to greet his family in the arid town of Thika. Also waiting for them were lions, elephants, giraffes, and countless other creatures (the 18-week production was filmed on location in Kenya).

Directed by Roy Ward Baker (A Night To Remember) and written by John Hawkesworth (Upstairs, Downstairs), The Flame Trees of Thika isn't just about one girl, or one family, adrift in an occasionally hostile foreign land, but also about the dangers of colonialism. The Grants, their neighbors, the Palmers (Nicholas Jones and Sharon Maughan), and most of the other Europeans in Thika feel certain they're bringing culture to the uncivilized, without realizing what they're destroying in the process. Ian Crawford (Ben Cross from Chariots of Fire), is one possible exception to the rule, but he brings another kind of danger in his pursuit of Mrs. Palmer.

Since their actions are seen through the eyes of a child, The Flame Trees of Thika is never preachy, but the meddling of these adults--however well intentioned--in the affairs of the Masai, the Kikuyu, and other locals frequently creates tension. As Tilly notes, "It's like two whole separate circles revolving around each other--their world and ours--and only just touching occasionally." What began as Elspeth's coming-of-age story, becomes one for her parents, as well, in this sensitive and engaging series. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Classic television drama set in colonial East Africa around the beginning of WWI. Eleven-year-old Elspeth Grant (Holly Aird) arrives in Africa with her parents Tilly (Hayley Mills) and Robin (David Robb), who are planning to build a coffee plantation, and is enthralled by the beauty of its landscape. With her parents busy at work, Elspeth finds plenty of time to explore and soon makes a number of friends amongst the Africans and the British settlers, bearing witness to both the natives' ancient tribal traditions and the scandalous intrigues of the colonials.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still good 11 April 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I agree that this is dated but I didn't find the quality of film too bad. The story is slow and gentle but that's the story! It still makes a great change from the American "cops and robbers" rubbish and if you want to watch a well told tale with no violence, sex or swearing this is well worth viewing. One for a quiet evening in with nothing on the telly!

I have never seen it before so I'm free from the bias of childhood memories.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, full of charm 25 Jun 2007
I was 15 when I first watched this back in the early 80's. Having just watched it again I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a gentle drama, full of charm as it's partially seen through the eyes of 11 year old Elspeth, and the backdrop of Kenya is breathtaking. The performances are strong and an excellent production overall.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FLAME TREES OF THIKA 23 April 2008
By Dr S. S. Nagi TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Having born in Kenya I recently watched this double DVD (1981 and 2005, 350 minutes) about Elspeth Huxley and her childhood story of her family moving to Thika in Kenya. Some say the story is slow. But if you read the book, it just follows the story and the hardships of starting fresh in Kenya at that time. All settlers and Indians had hard time there and they with the help of native Kenyans made the country what it is now. In 1913, Robin (David Robb) and Tilly Grant (Hayley Mills) arrive in Northern Kenya to start a coffee farm. But torrential rain and relentless insects and murderous animals along with the natives and other settlers challenge their ambitions. Will England call them back? Or the young Elspeth (Holly Aird) unlock the mysteries of a foreign land and open the doors to a new home?
I found the DVD very charming with beautiful countryside of Kenya and excellent makeups of everybody in the series. Excellent music too.
At the end of the DVD Elspeth and family move back to England. The last few minutes are on the train to Mombasa as it used to be showing beautiful wildlife of the nyika (wilderness).
ELSPETH JOSCELIN HUXLEY (CBE 1962) was born on 23.7.1907. She was educated in a white school in Nairobi. She left Kenya in 1925, but returned periodically. She married GERVAS HUXLEY in 1931. She wrote 30 books. She died in a nursing home at the age of 89 on 10.1.1997 at Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England.
Read 'The Flame Trees of Thika' (1959 and 2000) and the follow up book 'the Mottled Lizard' (1962 and 1999), in which Elspeth returns to Kenya. Nzuri sana (very good).
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed watching the DVD's.
Watch, read and ENJOY.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nostalgic View 1 Feb 2009
I watched this TV series the first time round, approx, 30 years ago.
It stars Haley Mills and Ben Cross as one of the pioneering upper class British families who move to a new life in Africa in 1913. It is seen through the eyes of their daughter, Elspeth Huxley, whom I met once, at the latter end of her life, on a coach trip, visiting several European Zoos. She had a deep passion for wildlife even then.
Although this is dated I enjoyed this much better than 'Wild at Heart' which is on TV at the moment, which has a similar thread to Flame Trees.
Therefore, if you remember this series or like Haley or Ben in their younger days this is the DVD for you.
If you are a 'Wild at Heart' fan I would still give it a go if only to see how this compares, taking into consideration it's age.
Every episode leaves you with a feel good factor and we all need some of that ;o)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Blue Posts of Thika 21 Jan 2010
Excellent viewing. Very good setting and the soundtrack is great. To the keener eye, especially for those with a fair knowledge of the historical background, there are times when the film is at a significant variance with the written version in the book or with expectations. Some of the swahili-speaking characters do not quite reflect reality. For example, use of excellent swahili by the locals/natives around Thika, especially during those days of reference (and to some extent even today) is quite out of context. Other characters like Elspeth are spot on. The subdivision of the film into various series/scenes is good, especially for family entertainment on various seatings. Excellent value for time and money.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars delightful 4 Feb 2008
I had not seen the tv series or even heard about it. Thought it was absolutely delightful. Gentle, entertaining and an insight into life in Kenya at that time. Maybe everyone looked a bit too clean but then that is an error that film makers often still make. Could not beleive how good the animal photography was considering it was make at least 25 years ago. Some of the acting might have been a bit week but the child who plays Elspeth was terrific.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nostalgia perfectly played 20 Sep 2011
I grew up on a farm in Kenya in the 1950s. The heroine of this lovely film (based on the book by Elspeth Huxley) also grew up on a farm in the highlands of Kenya, north of Nairobi, in the rich red volcanic soil of the Rift Valley. Times gone by. A long and lingering, loving re-telling of the white settlers' stories, their encounters with the Kikuyu and other tribes, their romances, tragedies, triumphs, attitudes, prejudices. The film does not overly-glorify the colonial settler period, at least to my taste. It is portrayed fairly accurately, for good and bad.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a lovely tale of life in africa 23 Jun 2008
This story is superb,i had first had experience of the film as my dad went to kenya for 6 months to work on it,i was then 12,i missed my dad terribley but the tales he told us of such a wonderful place i shall never forget,they had to build all of the buildings and used local people to help,none of the houses were there in the beginning,the cast were lovely people and holly aird was the same age as me around that time,what a truly fantastic experience for her.I know all of the words and love to watch them over and over again,if you want something easy to watch sit back and relax with flame trees of thika.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Flame Trees o Thika
Having lived in Africa it brought back many memories. The birds and wildlife were excellent I do recommend it as good viewing.
Published 2 months ago by Ralph
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better this time around
I remember this from the 1970s/1980s(?) but I was too young at the time to appreciate it. I'm so glad I decided to have a second look at it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars This looks interesting
I have to admit that I ordered this as it looked interesting but also have to admit that it is still on the shelf and I have not had a chance to watch it yet. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. E. A. Brockway
5.0 out of 5 stars TRULY THE BEST
Published 7 months ago by Mr Peter Mwangi
5.0 out of 5 stars Flame Trees of Thika
Along with the book I purchased this DVD for winter viewing. I am looking forward to settling down on the sofa on a cold winter's day
and losing myself in this film.
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. Jennifer Warden
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Look-See for Old Africa Hands
"The Flame Trees of Thika"(1981), a British television series that is based on the beloved series of autobiographical books of the same name, THE FLAME TREES OF THIKA, by Elspeth... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories from the past
This dvd was very enjoyable to watch and brought back memories from when I watched it as a youngster.
The storyline is very good and the setting for filiming is just perfect.
Published 15 months ago by consultesh
3.0 out of 5 stars Flame Trees of Thika
The plot and the acting were mediocre and the film was in fact more suitable for older children or adolescents,I felt.
Published 15 months ago by Jonathan Hann
4.0 out of 5 stars TV or Film format
This is a long story and perhaps comes over better as a weekly TV series rather than watching it at one sitting. Read more
Published 17 months ago by mufuliraman
1.0 out of 5 stars The Flame Trees of Thika - Beware!!
Bought this dvd last year and only got round to watching it yesterday. Disaster - the whole colour of the dvd is distorted and only shows in a weird blue and yellow colour. Read more
Published 17 months ago by E. Goodyer
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