Something of Value

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Something of Value
Something of Value 1957.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Richard Brooks
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Written by Richard Brooks
Based on novel by Robert Ruark
Starring Rock Hudson
Dana Wynter
Sidney Poitier
Wendy Hiller
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Edited by Ferris Webster
Distributed by MGM
Release date
  • May 10, 1957 (1957-05-10) (U.S.)
Running time
113 Min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,553,000[1]
Box office $3,600,000[1]

Something of Value is a 1957 drama directed by Richard Brooks and starring Rock Hudson, Dana Wynter, and Sidney Poitier. The film was reissued under the title Africa Ablaze.

The movie, based on the book of the same name by Robert Ruark, portrays the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. It shows the colonial and native African conflict caused by colonialism and differing views on how life should be lived. It stars Rock Hudson as the colonial and Sidney Poitier as the native Kenyan. The two men grew up together but have drifted apart at maturity.


Kikuyu tribal members work on Henry McKenzie's farm in 1940s Kenya. Two young men, Kenyan native Kimani and Henry's son Peter, have grown up together, almost like brothers.

Prejudices surface when Peter's brother-in-law Jeff Newton slaps the face of Kimani after his request to use a rifle. Kimani leaves the farm, but is carried back by Peter after having caught his foot in a trap.

Mau Mau tribesmen plot an insurrection as Kenya's tensions rise. Kimani sides with them and is asked to steal a supply of rifles as a test. He parts ways for many years with Peter, who becomes a safari leader to help raise money for the farm. His fiancee Holly Keith arrives and they intend to marry.

Kimani impregnates the daughter of a Mau Mau tribal elder. A raid on the farm results in the murders of Newton and his children. British forces retaliate by bombing a Mau Mau encampment, taking tribesmen prisoner and torturing them.

Peter wants to continue his life in Africa, but troubles worsen when Holly must fight off Mau Mau warriors. Henry hastily gets her and Newton's wife to safety in Nairobi. Peter goes looking for Kimani, who has been identified as the leader of the Mau Mau raiding party that killed his brother-in-law and Newton's children. They fight to the death, Kimani ultimately falling into a pit of bamboo spikes.



In January 1955 MGM announced they had bought the film rights to the novel for $300,000. The novel was published in April.[2] The New York Times wrote of the book that "the explosive impact of Robert Ruark's "Something of Value" will reverberate for a long time to come on both sides of the Atlantic."[3]

The film was originally announced for Grace Kelly. It was to follow a proposed remake of The Barretts of Wimpole Street.[4]

Producer Pando S. Berman assigned the script to Richard Brooks, who undertook a research trip to Kenya.[5]

At one stage British actor Bill Travers, then under contract to MGM, was discussed as a possible lead.[6] Elizabeth Taylor was mentioned as a possible female lead.[7]

In May 1956 it was announced Sidney Poitier would play the role of Kimani[8] and Rock Hudson would be borrowed from Universal to play the lead.[9] Filming began in July.


According to MGM records, the movie earned $2.1 million in the U. S. and $1.5 million overseas, for a net loss of $410,000.[1]

The movie was the sole American entry at the Venice Film Festival.[10]

It was re-released in 1962 with the title Africa Ablaze.[11]


Ruark published a sequel to his original novel in 1962 called Uhuru. No film resulted.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ M-G-M BUYS RIGHTS TO RUARK'S NOVEL: Studio Will Film 'Something of Value,' a Drama Set in Post-War Africa By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 05 Jan 1955: 31.
  3. ^ THE NIGHTMARE THAT ENGULFED A LAND: SOMETHING OF VALUE. By Robert Ruark. 566 pp. New York: Doubleday & Co. $5. A Novel of Life in Kenya and the Upheaval Caused by the Terrorism of the Mau Mau By JOHN BARKHAM. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 24 Apr 1955: BR1.
  4. ^ Grace Kelly's Future Blooming; Lana Turner Film Found by Thorpe Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 01 Apr 1955: B11.
  5. ^ Richard Brooks Plans to Film 'Elmer Gantry'--Italian Beauty--Addenda By A. H. WEILER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 10 Apr 1955: X5.
  6. ^ Drama: 'Something of Value' Bid DNow Centers on Travers; John Williams Resuming Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 Oct 1955: 13.
  7. ^ Louella Parsons: Jose Ferrer Will Direct 'Great Man' The Washington Post and Times Herald (1954-1959) [Washington, D.C] 23 Nov 1955: 22.
  8. ^ FILM DEBUT NEARS FOR ANDY GRIFFITH: 'No Time for Sergeants' Star Will Appear in Kazan's 'A Face in the Crowd' 'Grass' to Rise Again By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 11 May 1956: 22.
  9. ^ ROCK HUDSON GETS METRO FILM ROLE: Actor Will Appear in Movie Version of Ruark Novel, 'Something of Value' Ed Begley in Fonda Film By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 30 May 1956: 12.
  10. ^ MGM Film to Be Only U.S. Entry at Venice Festival Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 July 1957: 4.
  11. ^ Headlines Call Back Flop Film with Rock Dorothy Kilgallen:. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) [Washington, D.C] 15 Dec 1962: D10.
  12. ^ Robert Ruark Dead in London; Author and Columnist Was 49: Scripps-Howard Writer Was Often ControversialWrote , 'Something of Value' i New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 01 July 1965: 31.
  13. ^ Nightmare in a Land of Charm By JOHN BARKHAM. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 24 June 1962: 218.

External links[edit]