The best-seller status of Robert Ruark's novel, and Brooks' affinity with liberal issues generally, explains why MGM rather improbably found itself tackling the ramifications of the Mau Mau campaign against white settlers of the early 1950s. With Kenya represented by the leafier bits of the studio backlot plus sore-thumb location inserts, with the blacks speaking in variously Puerto Rican and Jamaican accents, and with Hudson and Hiller supposed to be brother and sister, this never really stood a chance. Brooks' chief insight - good and bad on both sides, tolerance the answer - hardly seizes the imagination, and the contentious climax, with Hudson carrying a wounded Poitier on his back, has every indication of being intended symbolically. A brief prologue written and spoken on-camera by Winston Churchill was deleted pre-release, having bored a preview audience.
Cast and crew