Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Everything I Know in Life I Learned from the Movies: Out of Africa



Sweeping vistas.

Tragic Love Story.

Fabulous decorating.

One of the best movie soundtracks of all time. 

Could you want anything more from a movie?

Nope - me neither.

Let's leave 1939 for awhile shall we, and head to 1985.

Actually, it's Christmas of 1985 and Barry and I are living in Regina Saskatchewan and over the Christmas vacation, we go see this movie and it immediately enters the pantheon of THOSE MOVIES I WILL LOVE FOREVER.

Winner of 7 Oscars, including best picture, best director, best cinematography, best art direction, best sound, best screenplay, and best original score. 

Even now, when I hear the soundtrack (which I am listening to while I write this) I am immediately transported back in time and place. 

So much to learn from this movie!

1) Marrying for convenience may NOT be the best idea, but then again...

Sure you marry a Baron so you can get away from home and well, live a life.  But it turns out he's just not that into you, or maybe he's into you, but not so much that he won't sleep around.


On the other hand, if it gets you to Africa....

2) If you treat people with respect, they will repay you in kind.

Baroness Blixen takes an interest in the local people who work her coffee plantation.  She eventually comes to love them and they her, and it is they that get her through the tough times.  She falls in love with Africa as much as she falls in love with Denys.


3) The Heart wants what the heart wants

Oh sure, you're married.  But you didn't marry for love and it is Robert Redford for God's sakes!


4) Airplanes are great fun until they're not

The excitement!  You can see for miles!  It's pretty much an aphrodisiac!  But then, well, sometimes they do fall out of the sky, especially in Colonial Kenya in the early part of the 20th century.



5) And speaking of Colonial Kenya... This is how to decorate a house...



6) and dress...




7) If a man offers to wash your hair, say yes....



8) Better to have loved greatly and lost than never to have loved at all (see #1)



9) And you'll get a get a good book out of it...


10) and in the end, the first line is EVERYTHING....




I leave you with one of my favourite scenes in a movie ever:





How about you?  What did you learn from Out of Africa?  Do Tell!

Have a great day and stay safe out there!

45 comments:

  1. Wendy, it was -21C in Regina this morning. Blech!! Haven't seen Out of Africa yet but it is on my list to watch, and I taped Gone with the Wind from TCM channel last week, hopefully I will find a free evening to watch it this week!

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    1. LR - the winter I lived in Saskatchewan was the coldest I'd ever experienced. I'd never hear of sun dogs till then had never seen the air crystallize!!!!

      You will LOVE Out of Africa!

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  2. I was born in Regina. I love, love the wardrobe from Out of Africa! What did I learn? I'd have a hard time denying Robert Redford...anything :)

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    1. I really want to see his new movie, don't you?

      Regina is very pretty! But Flat! I could never get over that you could see it in the rearview mirror all the way to MooseJaw!

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  3. I cannot say how many times I've seen this since 1985! I had a farm in Africa is a constant expression in my family, like a shorthand for some great nostalgic loss (except usually used for very small forgotten things...though I'm sure my mom would be pleased if in some very distant future the phrase was carved on her tombstone, that or "I invented post-its" :)

    The fashion, the music, the story, Meryl- love it all!!

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    1. We use that line, too! BTW - I am having trouble commenting on your blog (likely a technical issue from my end), but wanted you to know I am reading faithfully!!!

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  4. I never really understood all the fuss made over Robert Redford until that movie and whenever I buy/wear anything smacking of safari style, I realize I'm really wanting to be Baroness Blixen catching Denys' fancy.

    What did I learn from OOA? Some of us would like to be the one who can tame and we think with enough love that is possible, but some cannot be tamed.

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    1. TR - I think you are right - some cannot be tamed!

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  5. Oh Robert Redford is so handsome, a guy I grew up with became his son in law - I was so envious, it was almost as good as marrying RR!
    You know I have never seen this film.

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    1. imagine getting to spend holidays with RR.....

      you would love this film!

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    2. Oh Tabitha, you must! We all had that khaki skirt from the old timey BR.

      One of the best parts is the use of Mozart's A maj clarinet concerto( I am a Baroque music nut); Best EVER clarinet solo, so simple, heart rending and perfect. And the scene in which she holds the two men spellbound by the story she tells, which we do not hear.

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    3. She was a true Scheherazade. Lane, I kept a few of my mom's original BR catalogues, great marketing.

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    4. I'm trying to remember those old catalogs-- did they have little adventure stories?

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    5. Yep, part safari guide, part J. Peterman, part LL Bean. The very early ones were printed in duo-tone, an inexpensive two-colour technique that really gave them that collectible, army surplus, guide booklet tone.

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    6. J Peterman, that's what it reminded me of. Yes like army surplus, very authentic feeling

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  6. I haven't seen the film either, I hate to say it! It's such an iconic movie, I will have to go and hunt it down (no pun intended). I have perhaps though, read too much about Karen Blixen's actual life, and life in Kenya at the time, and that might taint it for me? But Robert Redford looks like he'll get me over the line. xx

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    1. I think you will forget the truth and revel in the romance!

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  7. I too have never seen this film but will try and watch it soon - but Redford is a looker and I am not normlly into blondes...

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    1. in his day, I would say only paul newman could rival him....

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  8. I have only seen once and that was ages ago. I did learn there are worse thing than getting pregnant (I was urn married at the time). Syphilis would be one. Oh, we saw Gravity Sunday. Enjoyed. Was not expecting the ending. Definitely felt her fear and anxiety.

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    1. No one expects syphilis!!!! I really liked Gravity - she did a great job!

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  9. 'No one expects syphilis!!!!'

    That's one for the archives!

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    1. I know! It's the Wendy equivalent of "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition"!

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  10. Love everything about that film specially Robert Redford, one of my earliest crushes. We're spending the holidays in South Africa this December and will check if that washing the hair outside translates to real life, LOL.

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  11. Haven't seen this film, but now I must! I love MS and RR.
    I am lovin this series!

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  12. Oh, I loved that film. I think it's time for a re-watch. After watching it I completely went for 'the look' and bought so much white and khaki! Never read the book though...thanks for the push.

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  13. I'M BETTER AT HELLO I had read a lot about Blixen, Beryl Markham etc. before the film, so I kept trying to reconcile RR (who I adore, thanks mum) with what I imagined as Denys Finch-Hatton.

    Definitely with Lane, that a great score can make a film, carry a very precise emotion, in same vein if totally different musical genres as Richard Curtis, Love Actually, and so many more. That it's important to live your own life, not someone else's. That words are powerful. And that alone can be beautiful but loneliness is rotten.

    RR's All Is Lost is a powerful gutter WMM, saw at TIFF.

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    1. GF, Going with some other sailors this weekend. I'm phobic of rogue waves. Won't scare me too much, will it??

      Nature is more powerful than we are-- the water flowing away to its home in Mombasa...

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    2. Lane, I really think RR deserves the actor Oscar for this one, and not just because of the physicality of it , hardly any stunt double, at 77.

      It's tense and gripping, camera spends most of time at waterline. The hardest part for you likely the first 20 minutes or so, while you find out how he got to where he is. BUT, I think you will really enjoy how he does makeshift repairs to his yacht, definitely had overtones of surgeon for me. I haven't sailed since my teens, but I wished I knew more about yachting throughout, just for the nuances.

      Speaking of soundtracks, the waves, wind and thunder are like a chorus in this one.

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    3. Sounds thrilling, can't wait!

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  14. I saw this movie ages ago when I was a kid, and I remember the ensuing craze for safari clothing, khakis and white shirts. (Also remember Banana Republic when they first opened and that's all they sold!) I should probably watch it again and refresh my memory....Actually the movie that really sticks in my head for a tragic love affair, beautiful scenery and music is "The English Patient", a movie along similar vein. There must be something about the scenery of Africa that inspires great love affairs.

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    1. I love The English Patient, too, Louise - so romantic and tragic!!!!

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  15. I loved this movie too, but have only seen it once, and that was years ago. I'll have to search it out again. My other favourite films set in Africa are White Mischief with Greta Scacchi and, of course, The African Queen. We rescued The African Queen out of the bargain bin a while ago and have yet to re-watch it - perhaps over Christmas when our son is back from uni.

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    1. The African Queen is one of my all-time favourites - I was so happy when it was finally released on DVD a few years ago!

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  16. Wendy I learned that I am missing these epic romance films that use scenery and music and silence to convey meaning. I am at a loss to think of a recent film __last ten years- that succeeds in doing that like Out of Africa and The English Patient did for me. Gravity was really good and the writer and director let Sandra stay quiet so we could "read" the story through the magnificence of outer space and through the emotions on her face as she moved from wanting to die to wanting to survive. But there wasn't any grand romance in it.

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  17. You're right Mary! Now they are all those "something's gotta give' type, while delightful, lack the splendour of the sweeping romance! Dr. Zhivago, where are you????

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    1. I think a lot of it is budget, takes a lot to convince a Hollywood studio to do an adult/ cerebral David Lean style epic these days.

      The other thing is more and more films being escapist because of the audience testing multiple endings factor. That's why so many books that have tough but more realistic endings get happied up for mass movie consumption.

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  18. great pictures!
    but i didn´t read the book ;-((
    greetings from germany ;-)

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    1. Fashion Omi - a confession - I haven't read it either! And hello to you from Canada! Just visited your blog - you are quite smashing!

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    2. Fashion Omi - a confession - I haven't read it either! And hello to you from Canada! Just visited your blog - you are quite smashing!

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  19. Now I have to watch that movie again!

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