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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars decadently gorgeous - like the best chocolate
One of my favourites but almost inaccessible - not currently for sale as a DVD and to my knowledge never shown on UK TV since 2001 - yet this is a classic, a first rate production that qualifies for cult status. This gorgeously filmed tale of a colony of hedonistic British upper-class expatriates near Nairobi in the 1940s continues to resonate with me after many years and...
Published on 1 Dec. 2008 by D&D

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great movie, but poor quality DVD recording may spoil your enjoyment.
The movie is great.
However, for those expecting a reasonable quality DVD you will be disappointed. The sound quality is poor and the movie looks as if it was shot through a net curtain - more like a camcorder ‘rip’ from the back row of the local flea pit.
This seems to be a recurring problem as other DVD’s I’ve bought from the BBC...
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer


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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars decadently gorgeous - like the best chocolate, 1 Dec. 2008
By 
D&D - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
One of my favourites but almost inaccessible - not currently for sale as a DVD and to my knowledge never shown on UK TV since 2001 - yet this is a classic, a first rate production that qualifies for cult status. This gorgeously filmed tale of a colony of hedonistic British upper-class expatriates near Nairobi in the 1940s continues to resonate with me after many years and many other films.

Based on James Fox's novel of the same name and subtly directed by Michael Radford, these shallow, self-absorbed residents of "Happy Valley" pursued a debauched search for pleasure through sex, drugs, alcohol, cross-dressing soirees, spouse-swapping get-togethers, and even a cocktail reception in a cemetery.

The primary focus is based on a triangular relationship that actually occurred between cynical, selfish, young and beautiful Diana Caldwell Broughton (Greta Scacchi), her betrayed, elderly husband Sir John Delves Broughton (Joss Ackland), and amoral Josslyn Hay, the 22nd Earl of Erroll (Charles Dance). When the Earl is found shot to death, Sir John is the obvious suspect because of the flaunted affair between the Earl and Diana. He is brought to trial but several other men - and women - share the same motive; in real life, the murder was never solved and a later book, on Lord Erroll by Trzebinski, claims the Earl was executed because he was a spy.

This is fascinating and compelling viewing. Stars and supporting cast (notably John Hurt, Sarah Miles, Trevor Howard, and Geraldine Chaplin) are all outstanding. Greta Scacchi is never again quite as luminously beautiful as in this steamy, sordid African mystery. Sumptuously filmed on location by Roger Deakins, the film vividly contrasts raw and wild nature with the decadence of Happy Valley's dissolute aristocrats.

The story is gripping, the acting superb, the sets are marvelous, the scenery magnificent, both Greta Scacchi and Charles Dance are gorgeous - this is a fascinating and compelling film.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating reenactment of a long forgotten murder, 22 Dec. 2012
By 
The CinemaScope Cat - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White Mischief [DVD] (1987) (DVD)
In 1941 Kenya, a group of jaded and decadent British expatriates indulge in orgies, casual adulterous affairs as well as drugs. But when of their own (Charles Dance) is found murdered and the husband (Joss Ackland) of the deceased's mistress (Greta Scacchi) is arrested for the murder, even the decadent community is shocked. Based on an actual incident known as the Happy Valley murder case, Michael Radford's (IL POSTINO) film is a wry look at the casual moral rot of a dying colonialist society. There's no one to empathize with, not even the murder victim which distances us from the proceedings so that we're merely observers, nothing more. Visually, the film gets everything right but it's just not a film one can warm to. Scacchi looks terrific but her character is too ambiguous to make much sense of while Ackland and Dance aren't interesting enough to make us care. Fortunately, the supporting performances pick up the slack, especially Sarah Miles as a drug addled whack job who attends cocktail parties with a snake draped around her and has the film's best lines. Also with Trevor Howard, Geraldine Chaplin, Hugh Grant, John Hurt, Ray McAnally, Murray Head, Jacqueline Pearce and Susan Fleetwood.

The Sony DVD is a nice anamorphic wide screen (1.85) transfer with optional English subtitles and features a making of documentary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great movie, but poor quality DVD recording may spoil your enjoyment., 7 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: White Mischief [DVD] (1987) (DVD)
The movie is great.
However, for those expecting a reasonable quality DVD you will be disappointed. The sound quality is poor and the movie looks as if it was shot through a net curtain - more like a camcorder ‘rip’ from the back row of the local flea pit.
This seems to be a recurring problem as other DVD’s I’ve bought from the BBC (Gormenghast was of remarkably awful quality), and from “4”, have repeatedly failed to be of an acceptable standard.

If you can grin and bear the woeful recording quality, and still enjoy the wonderful story and acting in this movie, it’s worth a couple of quid – but I’d rather have seen it on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Having such a poor quality DVD in my collection is like having a cuckoo in the nest.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Gem, 9 Nov. 2010
By 
G. Feldwick "Goldcoastglenn" (Gold Coast, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This is a great film, but I'm really confused as to why it's not readily available as an English release! Its worth the effort to seek it out, as well as the few seconds it takes to remove the Dutch subtitles. it's a fascinating (true) story, putting into context the lavish lifestyle that the English enjoyed in Kenya in the 1930's. From what I understand, those who did take the leap and move to the 'colonies' were looked down upon by respectable society at the time, but they certainly made up for their lack of home-front acceptance! Sarah Miles is wonderful, deliciously decadent, and there's a scene with her in this film that will stay with you forever! A young Hugh Grant makes a brief appearance, and the marvellous Charles Dance and Greta Scacchi, not to mention Joss Ackland round off a superb cast. Only one complaint - why is this in awful 4:3 pan and scan and not 16:9, the film was not made this way. But it's a small gripe, as otherwise you simply don't get to see it. And life is full of compromise!
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chequered Lives In The White Hills, 18 Mar. 2008
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White Mischief [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Having known a lady who was in Kenya from 1943 (3 years after the events on which this film is based) and having an English wife born in British East Africa a dozen years later, White Mischief was of huge interest to me quite apart from its intrinsic merit.

Jock Delves-Broughton (Joss Ackland) is in financial trouble and has left 1940 England with creditors pressing (not surprising: he spent up to £120,000 annually, equivalent to perhaps £5 million or even £10 million today!). He buys a place near Nairobi and settles with his much younger and very beautiful (especially but not only when unclothed) wife Diana (Greta Scacchi). She has been "bought" by him in return for an allowance of £80,000 annually, for 7 years. She, however, falls in love with the dissolute local landowner and part-time (it seems!) officer Errol (Earl of) (Charles Dance). They wish to marry. Jock pretends to agree, then suddently, Errol is found shot in the head on a country road. Delves-Broughton is tried for murder and acquitted. The plot reaches its denouement from there.

There is too much of an attempt to mix this story with the admittedly connected tale of the wifeswappers of "Happy Valley", a set based in a glen in the Aberdare Mountains, where fornication, adultery, drinking and some drug-taking took place in the 1930's and early 1940's. Although the middle and upper ranks of white settler society did contain a higher proportion of louche characters (remittance-men, the idle rich, war-evaders, more or less available women etc) than might have been the case back in England, the Happy Valley set was always a small minority.

Although not mentioned in the film, the Earl of Carnarvon (cf. No Regrets and Ermine Tales) sent a famous telegram to Delves-Broughton after the trial, using racing terminology: "Won by a neck, cleverly." ! That signal is now framed in the bar of White's Club in St. James', London.

I can recommend this film to anyone. Greatly entertaining, never boring and, if the ending is slightly anti-climactic, well...that is true to history. Like the society it shows, the film slightly peters out, but is not much the worse for that. The locations are great, the acting perfect.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I got this!, 19 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: White Mischief [DVD] (1987) (DVD)
I enjoyed this film and I'm glad that the DVD also contained extras in the form of interviews of cast members and producers.
The murder this focuses on has also been the subject of other works, books and films, so I sort of knew what to expect with regard to the characters in the film or the conclusion of the story. I mainly got it because of the cast and I wasn't disappointed.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upper class mischief and mystery in Kenya, 13 July 2012
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This review is from: White Mischief [DVD] (1987) (DVD)
"White Mischief" is an elegantly kinky tale of the monied upper classes who escaped the horror of the blitz to go and live in Kenyas happy valley during WWII.

The central plot revolves around the love triangle and eventual murder mystery between Josslyn Hay - The Earl of Errol (Charles Dance), Diana Delves Broughton (Greta Scacchi) and Sir Jock Delves Broughton (Joss Ackland). In this production Dance and Scacchi both hit career highs and inhabit their roles beautifully. Not only do they look the part, but the arrogance of Errol and the vampish, amoral desire of Diana are brilliantly obvious.

Jocks growing anger and frustration are portrayed convincingly by Joss Ackland and the imperceptible snap moment follows a well done and gradual humiliation.

Sarah Miles is very good as the morally bankrupt, drug addled Alice and the supporting cast fit into their roles with a real relish. Hugh Grant has a small supporting role in the early stages of the production.

The happy valley set were never the same again after the murder of Lord Errol and this film comes to the same conclusion as James Foxes novel of the same name, that Jock was the trigger man. Indeed, the evidence against him is quite compelling and even though he was acquitted of the crime, subsequent years of investigation have only served to make him look more guilty.

Jock had comitted fraud in his earlier days and managed to avoid going off to fight in WWI by coming down with an illness just before his regiment (The Irish guards) went off to be slaughtered on the Western front.

The colt .32 used as the murder weapon was his but he claimed it was stolen a few days before the murder; When he was acquitted the foreman of the jury was his personal barber (and in one letter to a friend he stated that he was found not guilty by "a hairs breadth"); he commited suicide one year after Errols murder.

An interesting twist that came out decades after the actual incident was that Diana was reportedly in Errols car when he was shot. The fatal bullet apparently first grazed her neck badly before it struck Errol and its a matter of record that she wore a neckerchief for the rest of her life in public.

There was a theory that Errol may have been the subject of an SOE assassanation as he had fascist sympathies and the British establishment were worried about his loyalty, but it just doesnt stand up to scrutiny.

Draw your own conclusions.

An excellent production and certainly worth tracking down.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars decadently gorgeous - like the best chocolate, 29 Nov. 2008
By 
D&D - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
One of my favourites but almost inaccessible - not currently for sale as a DVD and to my knowledge never shown on UK TV since 2001 - yet this is a classic, a first rate production that qualifies for cult status. This gorgeously filmed tale of a colony of hedonistic British upper-class expatriates near Nairobi in the 1940s continues to resonate with me after many years and many other films.

Based on James Fox's novel of the same name and subtly directed by Michael Radford, these shallow, self-absorbed residents of "Happy Valley" pursued a debauched search for pleasure through sex, drugs, alcohol, cross-dressing soirees, spouse-swapping get-togethers, and even a cocktail reception in a cemetery.

The primary focus is based on a triangular relationship that actually occurred between cynical, selfish, young and beautiful Diana Caldwell Broughton (Greta Scacchi), her betrayed, elderly husband Sir John Delves Broughton (Joss Ackland), and amoral Josslyn Hay, the 22nd Earl of Erroll (Charles Dance). When the Earl is found shot to death, Sir John is the obvious suspect because of the flaunted affair between the Earl and Diana. He is brought to trial but several other men - and women - share the same motive; in real life, the murder was never solved and a later book, on Lord Erroll by Trzebinski, claims the Earl was executed because he was a spy.

This is fascinating and compelling viewing. Stars and supporting cast (notably John Hurt, Sarah Miles, Trevor Howard, and Geraldine Chaplin) are all outstanding. Greta Scacchi is never again quite as luminously beautiful as in this steamy, sordid African mystery. Sumptuously filmed on location by Roger Deakins, the film vividly contrasts raw and wild nature with the decadence of Happy Valley's dissolute aristocrats.

The story is gripping, the acting superb, the sets are marvelous, the scenery magnificent, both Greta Scacchi and Charles Dance are gorgeous - this is a fascinating and compelling film.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent entertainment, 1 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: White Mischief [DVD] (1987) (DVD)
White Mischief (Michael Radford, 1987, 107')

Screenplay by Michael Radford, Jonathan Gems, based on White Mischief by James Fox.
Starring: Greta Scacchi, Charles Dance, Joss Ackland, Sarah Miles, John Hurt, Alan Dobie.
Music by George Fenton, Cinematography by Roger Deakins, Editing by Tom Priestley.
Studio Nelson Entertainment/Goldcrest Films/BBC. Produced by Simon Perry, Distributed by Columbia Pictures.

White Mischief dramatises the events of the Happy Valley murder case in Kenya in 1941, when Sir Henry "Jock" Delves Broughton was tried for the murder of Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll. Based on a book by the Sunday Times journalist James Fox (originally researched with Cyril Connolly).

A total surprise, is much better than the Agathe Christie Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express whodunits of the same filming period. Great technical competence at all levels, notably editing. Highly recommended.

211 - White Mischief (Michael Radford, 1987, 107') -Excellent entertainment - 1/12/2012
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4.0 out of 5 stars It brought out the brutal truth of Love., 6 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: White Mischief [DVD] (1987) (DVD)
The English upper classes at their best/worst? The women were fantastic with their dresses (inside and outside of them). Sarah Miles singing the tune of Three Old Ladies Locked up in the Lavatory to words summing up the characters in the film was no less than magic.
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