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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still good
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...
Published on 11 April 2007 by Wilz

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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 Huxley, is a set-in-Africa biography/drama/coming of age film that recounts Huxley's African childhood. It was made, undoubtedly at notable expense, onsite in Africa, by Thames Television, which...
Published 18 months ago by Stephanie De Pue


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still good, 11 April 2007
By 
Wilz "wilson9hb" (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, full of charm, 25 Jun 2007
This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FLAME TREES OF THIKA, 23 April 2008
By 
Dr S. S. Nagi "Nyrobe" (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Look-See for Old Africa Hands, 5 April 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
"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 Huxley, is a set-in-Africa biography/drama/coming of age film that recounts Huxley's African childhood. It was made, undoubtedly at notable expense, onsite in Africa, by Thames Television, which was then a dab hand at making period dramas, and generally quite open-handed about them too, and was directed by the experienced Roy Ward Baker,(A NIGHT TO REMEMBER). John Hawkesworth, (UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS) wrote several episodes, as did Huxley. It was produced by Hawkesworth, Verity Lambert, (DOCTOR WHO), and Christopher Neame, (SOLDIER, SOLDIER), all experienced film people with reputations for quality. The series comes as the original episodes on two DVDs, with, thank goodness, subtitles, though it doesn't offer many other extras.

It is 1913, shortly before the outbreak of World War I. British citizens Robin Grant (David Robb, THE YOUNG VICTORIA), and his wife Tilly, (Hayley Mills, The Parent Trap [DVD],Pollyanna [DVD] ), move to colonial Kenya planning to start a coffee plantation. But they there face language problems, driving rains, inscrutable local medicine men, hordes of insects and drunks, and dangerous animals, to boot. Will the Grants give up and return to England? Or will the wide-eyed wonder of their 11-year-old daughter Elspeth, (Holly Aird) help them ease into their adopted home? This is a time of discovery for Elspeth, as she encounters the incandescent beauty and cruelty of nature, and makes new friendships with both Africans and British expatriates, such as the Major, played by John Nettles (Midsomer Murders: The Complete Series One and Two [DVD]), in makeup so thick he's hard to recognize. A side plot involves the beautiful and bored upper-crust British Lettice Palmer (Sharon Maughan, THE BANK JOB), already known as a bolter (a woman who leaves the men in her life), who scorns her current husband Hereward, played by Nicholas Jones, HORNBLOWER MUTINY, and begins an affair with Ian Crawford, (Ben Cross, Chariots of Fire [DVD] [1981]) a handsome safari guide. Eventually, however, the colony's life is disrupted by the onset of WW I.

The score is beautiful and most evocative of Africa at an earlier time. There's no question that filming in Africa must have been expensive, but it seems to me that this time Thames and its production partners - perhaps including Mills-- cut costs where they shouldn't have. The starring men, Jones and Robb, look so much alike they could be brothers, if not twins; nor are they distinguished by their performances. Nor have they achieved much notice in the years since. Cross delivers a one-note performance; he just stares. Maughan is indeed beautiful, though her career too has been limited. Oddly enough, according to IMDB, she is married to Trevor Eve, who starred in that wonderful African set British mystery series In the Heat of the Sun [DVD], which portrays the continent in a considerably darker way. Holly Aird is a revelation as Elspeth; she really carries the film, even as a child. The disk's mini-biographies say that Aird is one of the few child stars to have had a career as an adult actor, and, indeed, she has, starring in SOLDIER SOLDIER, and, most memorably, with Trevor Eve, as Dr. Frankie Wharton, the forensics expert, in Waking The Dead : Complete BBC Series 1 [2001] [DVD]. This leaves the interesting question/problem of Mills, who was indeed a big child star, but really didn't do so well as an adult actor. Here, she conveys reliability, stoicism, self-discipline, sterling British virtues all, and probably necessary for a woman trying to found a coffee plantation in Africa. But not necessarily virtues that are helpful to an actor. Although, of course, her father, Sir John Mills, IN WHICH WE SERVE, built his career on playing an untold number of military men with those very virtues. But that was back in the day.

The series should appeal powerfully to the legions of old Africa hands who love Out of Africa [DVD] [1985], based on the book of the same name, by Isak Dinesen. The film White Mischief [DVD] (1987), based on the book of same name by James Fox, takes a hard lingering look at these same sorts of people, and makes much darker findings. And then, of course, there's HEAT OF THE SUN. Anyway, we can give this film an extra star for Holly Aird, and the unimaginable beauty of Africa, which, I expect looked, in 1981, a lot more like it had looked in 1913 than it does now. Worth a look-see for us old Africa hands.
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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
By 
J. Castle "Chowlady" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
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
By 
Dr. J. M. Kinuthia (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
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
This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
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
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This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
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
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This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable period drama, 13 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] (DVD)
Watched this 20 years ago so good to see again; however on this DVD there is never any scene showing the 'flame trees' (the title) which we recall having seen in the original production, which is rather odd?? Good family viewing.
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Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD]
Flame Trees Of Thika [DVD] by Roy Ward Baker (DVD - 2005)
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