Killing Heat

Killing Heat

Drama | 105 Mins | Released: 1981
Director: Michael Raeburn
Starring: Karen Black, John Thaw, John Kani, Patrick Mynhardt, John Moulder-Brown, Margaret Heale, Björn Gedda
Our Rating: 5

A city-woman moves to a foreign country with her future husband, giving up all the comforts of cosmopolitan life. Life in the countryside finally takes its toll on her, and she finds herself involved sexually with another man.

The film takes place in Southern Rhodesia in the 1940s. Mary, a city woman, marries a farmer named Dick Turner. Mary is pulled from the comforts of her cosmopolitan life and forced to live on Dick’s unsuccessful farm. Mary slowly becomes insane and has a sexual affair with her black servant, Moses. When Mary and Moses’ affair is discovered Mary asks Moses to leave the farm. Moses returns and murders Mary. The film deals with the issues of colonialism, the white man’s role in Africa, and the relationships between the races and genders.

Movie Notes:

Killing Heat (released in Sweden as Gräset sjunger) is a 1981 film based on Doris Lessing’s 1950 novel The Grass Is Singing. It stars Karen Black and John Thaw and was filmed in Zambia.

This theatrical feature film was made and released about thirty-one years after its source novel of the same name by Doris Lessing was first published in 1950.

Debut cinema movie written or directed by writer-director Michael Raeburn.

One of two filmed adaptations of stories by Doris Lessing first released in the year of 1981. The other picture was Memoirs of a Survivor (1981).

The film screened out-of-competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1981.

Second time that the source novel “The Grass is Singing” (1950) by Doris Lessing has been filmed as it had been previously produced as an episode of Studio 4 (1962) about nineteen years earlier it being first broadcast on 26th March 1962.

“The Grass is Singing” (1950) was the first novel of author Doris Lessing.

The film and source book’s “The Grass is Singing” title is derived from lines 354 and 386 of Part V: ‘What the Thunder Said’ of the poem “The Waste Land” (1922) by T.S. Eliot.

Final cinema movie as a director of photography for Danish writer-director Bille August.

The Australian home video sleeve states that the picture was “filmed on location in Africa”. The movie’s closing credits declare that “the film was shot on location in Livingstone, Lusaka and in the Kafue National Park, Zambia”.

English actor John Thaw’s next cinema movie that he appeared in after Killing Heat (1981) would be another Africa set movie that being director Richard Attenborough’s Cry Freedom (1987).

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