Out of Africa / Film / 1985 / Source Material

One film that I often get sucked into if I happen to find it playing on TV is the 1985 USA film Out of Africa which starred Meryl Streep and Robert Redford with direction by Sydney Pollack. It isn’t a perfect movie… but I like it for lots of different reasons. The stories, the characters, the landscapes… the way it is shot… the music really fits the film as well. I started watching bits and pieces of it on broadcast TV when I was a kid… but it was much later as a teenager that I finally saw the entire film from start to finish. It has been interesting how as I have gotten older, what appeals to me about the film changes or the things I pick up on and notice more.

As I got older I found out it was sorta based on some real people and I later found out about some of the sources for the film. Since I enjoy reading, I thought I’d find out more about the books themselves.

Here is what I found out about the books, enjoy.

House of Woogeroo

The character played by Meryl Streep, Karen Blixen... later wrote under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen.

If you look up the film on the IMDb.com site, you will find these writing credits listed :

Karen Blixen     …     (based upon: “Out of Africa” and other writings)

Judith Thurman     …     (book “Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Story Teller”)

Errol Trzebinski     …     (book “Silence Will Speak”)

Kurt Luedtke     …     (screenplay)

The book “Out of Africa” and other writings was published in 1937 under the aforementioned pseudonym Isak Dinesen.

One interesting thing I read about her writings, as she was originally Danish and wrote in that her native tongue. She however, did not have her writings translated, at least not into English, she re-wrote them herself.

Shadows on the grass Hardcover – 1961
by Isak Dinesen (Author)

This book was written later and contains more tales of her time in Africa. Later on both titles, Out of Africa… and Shadows… were published in a single combined volume.

I myself read the combined volume and found the stories to be quite interesting. The books are said to be an interesting window into a time in what is now Kenya(was then known as British East Africa)… that is long since gone.

Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller
by Judith Thurman (Author)

This was a biography that was written about the life and work of Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen.

Errol Trzebinski     …     (book “Silence Will Speak”)

Silence Will Speak: A Study of the Life of Denys Finch Hatton and His Relationship With Karen Blixen

by Errol Trzebinski (Author)

This was a book about the character played by Robert Redford in the film; Denys Finch Hatton.

In life, the man was English… and from what I read they were going to have Redford play him that way in the film, as well as some scenes being shot with him using a English accent… but they seemed to think American audiences were too dumb to watch Redford being English or something, so they scrapped it and made him an American. Weird, yes?

If you’d like to read about the differences between the film and the materials/historical facts… view the wikipedia article about the film.

However, this is the book about the professional hunter, later pilot and conservationist the character is based upon.



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