Something of Value (Africa Ablaze) (1957)





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The literalism of writer-director Richard Brooks serves him well in this meticulously faithful adaptation of the Robert Ruark novel Something of Value. Filmed on location in Africa, this is the story of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, as seen through the eyes of a handful of protagonists. Virtually alone in a sea of racist British colonialism, gentleman farmer Peter McKenzie (Rock Hudson) strives to understand the demands of freedom and equality made by Kenya's black population in particular and his childhood friend Kimani (Sidney Poitier) in particular. Ultimately, however, McKenzie and Kimani find themselves on opposite sides of the fence when the latter aligns himself with the Mau Mau. Without advocating the terrorism of this controversial movement, the screenplay is careful to deal the ongoing iniquities and frustrations that forced men like Kimani to take arms against their white brethren. There were a few theatres in the American south who, feeling that the racial tensions inherent in Something of Value hit too close to home, refused to book this fascinating, thought-provoking, often startlingly brutal film.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Rock Hudson
as Peter
Sidney Poitier
as Kimani Wa Karanja
Dana Wynter
as Holly
Wendy Hiller
as Elizabeth
Robert Beatty
as Jeff Newton
Walter Fitzgerald
as Henry McKenzie
Michael Pate
as Joe Matson
Ivan Dixon
as Lathela
Ken Renard
as Karanja
Samadu Jackson
as Witch Doctor
Frederick O'Neal
as Adam Marenga
Lester Matthews
as Game Warden
Gary Stafford
as Little Henry
Duncan Richardson
as Little Jeff
Leslie Denison
as Crown Consul
Bruce Lister
as Doctor
Barbara Foley
as Wanjiru
Robert Anderson
as Mr. Barker the Client
Bruce Lester
as Doctor
Wesley Bly
as Night Clerk
Paulene Myers
as Kikuyu Woman
Kim Hamilton
as Kipi's Wife
Barry Bernard
as Superintendent
Morgan Roberts
as Chief Hings
Naaman Brown
as Hand Clerk
Ike Jones
as Askari
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Critic Reviews for Something of Value (Africa Ablaze)

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (2)

Brooks' chief insight -- good and bad on both sides, tolerance the answer -- hardly seizes the imagination, and the contentious climax, with Hudson carrying a wounded Poitier on his back, has every indication of being intended symbolically.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

A pretty, good estimation of the social problems involved.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

Though the story is fiction, the film rings true, with a fair portrait of both sides of the conflict.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008
TV Guide

As drama not much in value.

Full Review… | May 5, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Something of Value (Africa Ablaze)


the movie was fair. neither Hudson nor Poitier were stellar in their roles. interesting that it was made in the era of the anti-colonial insurgency. the story is compelling and worth watching for 'educational' purposes.

bob weakley
bob weakley

Extraordinary, truthful film about the effects of colonialism and racism. It's interesting that this film, based on the book by Richard Ruark, came out in 1957: a time of tumultuous change beginning to re-shape the world as we know it today. It was the same year Ghana became the first African country to win its independence and the Little Rock Nine faced violent, racist resistance in their efforts at integration and equality.

Christopher Bloodworth
Christopher Bloodworth

[img][/img] This is a movie about two friends growing up in Africa. The problem is that one is white and the other one is black. But the black friends mom helped to raise him because his mom was dead. The problem is the white family has money and the blacks are treated like slaves. Most of the white workers don't respect any of the blacks. Well one day when the black friend is slapped and made fun of he decides to leave the camp and get involved in a terrorist group. The white friend goes out to look for him but realizes that his friend is now a lost cause and must join in the hunt as well. The main characters are played by Sidney Poitier and Rock Hudson. Both of them are effective in their roles but the movie is mediocre at best. It is very predictable and very long and drawn out. It did have decent cinematography but after just watching Out Of Africa there was no comparison. Overall, I would skip this movie you aren't going to miss much. Plus the story has been done to death now anyways.

Josh La Fond
Josh La Fond

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