One of the Best Movies I have ever seen (by luccastrel)
OUT OF AFRICA is based on the memoirs of Danish writer Karen Blixen pen name, Isak Dinesen in a coffee plantation in present day Kenya. It explains how this brave woman overcomes the stereotype of a dainty, colonial British lady by running the coffee farm while her husband Bror Blixen Brandauer led a life of hunting and infidelities. Meryl Streep is great as Karen Blixen. She manages to maintain the realistic Danish accent through the whole film. Redford is great as Denys Finch-Hatton, the Etonian hunter who keeps companion in her loneliest and hardest. But the real attraction of the film <more>
is he outstanding photography of the African landscape together with the sweeping John Barry soundtrack that is probably the most beautiful movie soundtrack of the 1980s. OUT OF AFRICA will be regarded as Sydney Pollack's asterpiece and a Classic of our times.
My favorite movie of all time, hands down. I watched it for the first time in the theatre. As it ended, the audience sat motionless and quiet for several beats, then burst into loud applause as the ending credits rolled. I'm not always so prophetic, but I was incredibly moved. I said to my husband, "We've just seen the Academy Award winner." If I had no other basis for recommendation, I would say the breathtaking cinematography and transporting musical score would make a viewing worthwhile case in point: the main theme playing as Denys Finch Hatton gives Karen Blixen her <more>
first airplane ride, and we what she sees, as God must have seen it . But these are merely the window dressings.There are two movie cuts floating around, which I tried to pursue through Universal, and then Disney. Forget it. Suffice to say there is a theatrical version and a Disney TV version, with little consequential difference to the plot except that the latter edits out a little of Karen's physical lovemaking with Denys and slightly expands her intellectual relationship with Farah; which to some degree helped buttress the development of his absolute devotion to her.The screenplay resembles Isaak Dinesen's semi-autobiographical book very little; even so, she did not tell the whole truth in her book. You'll have to get over it, except that I think the character development suffered the loss of Blixen's deep involvement with the displaced Kikuyu tribe working her coffee plantation. Also, without an understanding of the historical times, it would be too easy to say simplistically that this is a woman trying to live within the terms of a marriage of convenience and then compensating with pursuit of a doomed passion.What was crafted out of a mishmash of a more-or-less factual account and director Sydney Pollack's vision is still a beautiful love and adventure story in the midst of British colonial rule and an earlier, more racially and sexually biased era.Klaus Maria Brandauer as Baron Bror von Blixen whew! - who called Karen "Tannen," adding to my initial confusion perfectly portrays that fun man you like immensely but could never really trust with anything important like your feelings. He along with several of the key male figures and symbols in this movie will eventually bow in respect to the "man" Karen Blixen becomes despite his often shabby treatment and other travails, because she rises above it all and perseveres. Redford plays mostly Redford. His Finch Hatton's sense of independence is fragile and illusory and will ultimately cost him dearly.There are a couple of continuity problems that bother me to this day, including the disappearing-reappearing champagne and the continually retracking parade marchers, but for the most part few expenses or attentions to detail were spared, especially in the lavish costuming. "Bare-breasted native women" will unfortunately also make their National Geographic appearance.Even so, Out of Africa is a treasure with a half dozen or more perfect and unforgettable scenes; a movie as long as this review, but I hope you'll agree, worth your patience.
This film is a masterpiece in all aspects. Of course, it's not for those looking for action or a fast-paced plot -- this film allows you to meet and get to know the characters with their virtues and foibles. The cinematography is incredible and John Barry's score is matchless; one of the very few scores which would diminish a film if absent. Meryl Streep was robbed of the Oscar; her meticulous German/Danish accent was first-rate. If I had to name the weakest attribute of the film, it's the casting of Robert Redford as Denys. He did a fine job, and it was understandable that he was <more>
cast in that role, due to his bankability, but in reality, Denys was not American. Redford is a bit too all-American for this role, but it's a minor detraction. This film is my next purchase on DVD -- I've seen it dozens of times and I never tire of it.
What makes a good film? It's funny I lent my DVD of this to a mate recently and although she didn't hate it she didn't get it either. Which surprised me because, to me, there has never been any doubt in my mind about the beauty and quality of this film. Anyway I was surfing IMDb and decided to look at this page. There is or was a thread on the discussion board about whether this was a good or bad film, I clicked on it. I have never in my modest surfing of this site seen such a big thread. Surely a film that evokes that much passion the majority of which was positive and <more>
defencive has achieved something.I'm not saying that Out of Africa is the best film I've ever seen I've yet to see that one! but I think I can safely say that it has secured a place for itself both in cinematic history and the future of entertainment. You see at it heart it is a well made, timeless epic.Yes there will always be the people who take exception to the accents, dislike the ending or believes it drags on for too long, but that's their lost, I can't help thinking they haven't been patient enough and this annoys me .You see the thing is in many ways the endless beauty of this film lies in its subtleties. Yes you have Meryl Streep and Redford flanked by the scenery and music, but for me it's the things like Pollock's direction, Michael Kitchen's performance and Karen's interaction with member's of the tribe that make the film.Part of me wants to tie my mate to a chair and make her sit and watch this until she gets it. The other half is slightly relieved, because I feel that with her rejection this film is ever so slightly more exclusively mine, and I know that although I'm still only young I will always have time a space for it!
Out of Africa A/A 4.5.00 1.85:1/4.1 First Viewing Anamorphic Widescreen Best PictureThis is a great movie. Everything about it is first rate including story, acting, directing and cinematography. Its bear sweep at the Oscars in 1986 only proves that. The DVD does great justice to the film. The anamorphic video transfer was done painstakingly well and a very good Making of. video is included.
White Woman's Burden (by bkoganbing)
Based on the memoirs of the real Karen Blixen, Out Of Africa provided Meryl Streep with a great role, one of her Best Actress nominations was earned from this film. That woman can adapt and cast in just about any culture. The key to the film is understanding that Meryl Streep's character comes from a non-imperialist country, or at least one that had no imperial ambitions at the time she came to Africa. Denmark in 1914 owned Iceland, Greenland, and the Virgin Islands and the last she'd sell to the USA a few years later. The assumptions of racial superiority just aren't in her as <more>
they are with some people, including her husband Klaus Maria Brandauer who's been there awhile. She's an odd duck in the Kenya colony, but she gradually wins their respect.Bored with her life in Denmark among the upper crust of that country, Meryl enters into a marriage with Klaus Maria Brandauer, the brother of a friend and goes to East Africa where with her money he hopes to start a cattle ranch. Without telling her he decides to grow coffee instead and that marks a first breach in the relationship.It's a fine day when she wakes up and is diagnosed with a venereal disease which was untreatable not so very long ago. It's grounds for her to leave for Denmark and take the cure. She also separates from her husband though they stay cordial. Not something I'd do under the circumstances.When she returns to Africa and to her coffee plantation which is now showing a bit of success, she takes up with Robert Redford, an iconoclastic white hunter whose time among the natives has given him a different perspective than the Britishers. There's no explanation of Redford's lack of English accent, not even the usual one of Redford being Canadian which is the standard Hollywood explanation for American names in British settings.Sumptiously photographed in Africa, Out of Africa won a flock of Oscars that year including Best Picture and Best Director for Sydney Pollack. Other Oscars were for Cinematography, Art&Set Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Music and Best Sound. Streep did not win for Best Actress and neither did Klaus Maria Brandauer for Best Supporting Actor. Curiously enough Robert Redford was overlooked in a film that clearly tilted towards the leading lady.One thing that Sydney Pollack did that few others have, he showed the various native peoples in the Kikiyou tribe as individuals in their dealings with Streep. She respects as do few others the fact that this is their country and she's interloper. Her concern for them is genuine and it's part of the love she acquires for the place. She never returns to Africa when economic circumstances force her to leave, I suspect because she can't face what probably happened to those she assumed a burden for. White woman's burden if you will in the most altruistic sense.Streep leaves during the Thirties and in ten year, post World War II, Kenya colony had a most bloody separation with the British Empire with the Mau Mau Rebellion. You see some ever so subtle hints of it developing in Out Of Africa.Much good and bad has come Out Of Africa and this film is the place to see both of it.
This is an overlong film derived from Isak Dinesen's memoirs of running a coffee plantation in Kenya in the early years of the twentieth century. The book is a different kettle of fish altogether, but I won't go into that. Sydney Pollock does a fine job of directing here, but in a way the movie is almost overproduced. There was, it seems, so much time and money to play with that the film drags an awful lot. Kurt Luedtke's script is laconic in the Hemingway manner, and very smart, though some of the ultra-sophisticated one-liners began to irritate me after a while. Pollock has a <more>
fine dramatic instinct and I wish that there was more drama in this film for him to lavish his talent on. The location shooting is superb, and the depiction of home and village life in colonial Africa is nicely done. I find the romance between Dinesen called by her real name, Baroness Karen Blixen and aviator-adventurer Denis Finch-Hatton, less than compelling, partly because, as the latter, Robert Redford refuses to use a British accent, which gives the movie a Hollywood feel, not a bad thing in itself, but the film was made in Africa, with a mostly British cast, and Meryl Streep as Blixen uses an impeccable Danish accent, which makes Redford seem like a fish out of water. This is bothersome because in many ways Redford is well cast in the role, thus his American diction seems like sheer willfulness on his part, which it probably was. Streep is fine in her role, and is especially good in her grand dame moments, as lady of the manor.There are some worthwhile incidental pleasures in this film. John Barry's fine score is perfect for the material, and really soars near the end, appropriately I imagine since one of the two main characters is an aviator. In supporting roles, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Michael Kitchen, Suzanna Hamilton and Michael Gough work small wonders. The use of Mozart, while true to life, makes this post-Amadeus film seem already like a period piece; the period being the 1980's. Mozart was all the rage in those days. His great music is, however, non- if not anti-emotional, and it's odd that it was used so often in the movie. The effect of the music is somewhat intimidating in the context of the romance at the center of the film, as it doesn't suit at all what's happening on screen, which can't help but make the viewer think that perhaps he's missing something; or maybe the film is just too smart for him. This is, again, a very eighties sort of feeling, of the sort of one gets from watching Chariots Of Fire, or listening to the music David Byrne and Laurie Anderson.
Fifty years ago I was living in the Kenya highlands, only a few miles from the old Blixen farm. Not a great deal had changed since the 1920s, the period of the movie, which manages a reasonable re-creation. However, the background is unlikely to mean much to Americans, only confirming unreal stereotypes of the colonial British. Meryl Steep, as we have come to expect, is superb in the part; and in 2003 she co-narrated a wonderful documentary on the remarkable Karen Blixen Isak Dinesen , to whom in fact she bears some physical resemblance. Robert Redford is badly miscast, and why the producers <more>
didn't get one of many superb English actors for the part I can't imagine. As a love story well told in what to most people will be an exotic setting, beautifully photographed, it should be highly rated, justifying its many awards.
Liked It A Lot More After Several Viewings (by ccthemovieman-1)
Few movies ever increased in my ratings as much as this one did from first viewing to the last one - the fourth, about 5-8 years ago. I guess I am due to see this again soon.Early on, after seeing this on widescreen, my rating of it began to increase dramatically. I hadn't realized on those first two early viewings on formatted-to-TV VHS just how beautiful this movie was shot. The accompanying music score also is outstanding. The main score, the theme song of the movie, if you will, still ranks as perhaps the prettiest I have ever heard on ANY film. For the full version of the music, <more>
stay with the ending credits. In addition to a greater appreciation of the visuals and soundtrack, I enjoyed the story much more by the third time and Meryl Streep's Danish accent as "Karen Blixen" went from annoying to acceptable. It is a romance story and there isn't much action, and parts of it can drag a bit, but not for long. I even found I could enjoy this 161-minute film broken up into several viewings.One credibility problem, the other main character: " Denys," played by Robert Redford, was supposed to be British but had a 100 percent American accent. He didn't even try to fake it! His character also was a little too secular-humanistic for me to root for him, anyway. He didn't have much a moral base "marriage is just a sheet of paper"-type beliefs . Streep's character wasn't all that hot, either, and I'm wondering if the real Karen Blixen was more Christian-like than shown in this movie. It wouldn't surprise me. Character-wise, I liked Blixen's husband, played by Klaus Maria Brandauer, probably best in this movie.This is such a classy-looking film that I can overlook a few flaws and too-secular main characters and enjoy what the rest has to offer: mainly the magnificent African scenery, mellow story and rich music.