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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

White Mischief & The Happy Valley Set

Years ago as a young boy, I watched White Mischief in my parent's bedroom until Greta Scaachi took off her dress to let her husband admire her naked body. I was quickly dismissed from the room by my mother.

I managed to find a copy of White Mischief and I was extremely curious in revisiting the film - because I had read somewhere that there was a connection between Lady Broughton and something I had read recently (Possibly the fact that Karen Blixen was part of the set). I could not remember what it was - it had me absolutely stumped - so I thought that if I watched the movie it might jog my memory.

The movie had fascinated me ever since my childhood when I had never been allowed to watch the entire film. All I could remember was her dropping her clothes and being dismissed from the room and then the end, when I was allowed back into the room, Lady Broughton going off with the farmer. So, I was unbelievably happy to get my hands on a copy and watch it start to finish without censorship.

And as a knee jerk reaction to my mother's authority, I am including some screen shots of the very stuff I was banned from watching!

On researching just a fraction - trying to find whatever relationship there was between Lady Broughton and whatever it was I read recently, I am going to put a little information from Wikipedia on the Happy Valley Set beneath the images.

Oh, and by the way, once again - a great film and many bow ties sprinkled everywhere!

A few shots that are not of bow ties....

Greta Scaachi as Lady Broughton; stunning shot, almost like a Vargas pin-up girl and below, looking like the willing infidel that she becomes. Honestly, these British aristocrats really lived it up in Nairobi. 

The wonderful chocolate smoking jacket of the peeping tom. 

Excerpt From Wikipedia
The Happy Valley set was a group of privileged British colonials living in the Happy Valley region of the Wanjohi Valley, [1] near the Aberdare mountain range, in the colonies of Kenya and Uganda during the 1920s - 1940s. The elite social group became notorious for stories of drug use and promiscuous sexual encounters.[2]
The area around Naivasha, Kenya was one of the first to be settled by white people and one of the hunting grounds of the hedonistic Happy Valley set. [3] The colonial town of Nyeri, Kenya, to the east of the Aberdare Range, was the center of Happy Valley settlers. [4]
The white community in Kenya in the pre-WWII period was divided into two distinct factions: settlers, on the one side, and colonial officials and tradesmen, on the other. Among both groups there was a dominance of upper-middle-class and upper-class British citizens, but the two groups often disagreed on issues ranging from land allocation to how to deal with the natives.
Typically, the officials and tradesmen looked on the Happy Valley set with disdain and embarrassment. The height of the Happy Valley set's influence was in the late 1920s. The recession sparked by the 1929 Wall Street stock market crash greatly decreased the number of new arrivals to Kenya and the influx of capital. Nevertheless, by 1939 Kenya had a white community of 21,000 people.
Some of the members (described below) of the Happy Valley set were: Hugh Cholmondeley (Lord Delamere), Sir Jock Delves BroughtonJosslyn Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll, Lady Idina SackvilleAlice de JanzĂ© (cousin of J. Ogden Armour), Frederic de JanzĂ©, Lady Diana Delves Broughton, Hugh Dickenson, Jack SoamesNina SoamesLady June CarberryJuanita CarberryDickie Pembroke, and Julian Lezzard. Author Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) had also been a friend of Josslyn Hay.
In recent years, descendants of the Happy Valley set have been appearing in the news, particularly the legal troubles of Thomas P. G. Cholmondeley, the great-grandson of the famous Lord Delamere.

Lord and Lady Broughton

A young Lady Broughton

The Happy Valley Set

Joss Hay

Lord and Lady Broughton

1 comment:

  1. It is a great movie, made all the greater by Scacchi's mind-blowing beauty.