Views from Southwest Virginia

Joan K

Joan K
Southwest, Virginia, USA
I'm a retired professor from Virginia Tech living the good life in the Appalachian mountains with my husband, a dog, and two cats along with lots of wildlife. I love reading, commenting and posting on Open Salon. Long live OS!


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FEBRUARY 18, 2009 3:49PM

Out of Africa and My Redford Encounter

Rate: 9 Flag



My favorite movie is Out of Africa without a doubt.  The location, the actors, the tragic love story--all of it mesmerized me back in 1985 when I saw it for the first time.    For years afterward, I had this burning desire to visit Africa, go on safari, maybe even live there on a farm. 

 Right after I saw the movie, I went out and bought a khaki safari dress,  almost ankle length with chest pockets and shoulder pads (it was the 80s remember).   I  wore it to work until the cotton fabric was paper thin, prompting some snide remarks from my colleagues.   


Here's an African gourd  I purchased about that time.  

To this day, I tear up when I listen to the  soundtrack CD (photo at top of post).   The music for Out of Africa by John Barrymore, like his other film music, is melancholy and grand--as if to accompany a great historical saga. 

My favorite scene is when Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) is  out on safari with Denis Finch-Hatton (Robert Redford).  They are drinking wine in crystal glasses and are seated in safari chairs at a cloth-covered table.   I actually don't remember what they were talking about but it was the romantic tension created in the scene that pulled me in.      Will he touch her?    Will they make love?

It's not surprising that this movie would be my favorite.  My previous favorite was Jeremiah Johnson, 1972, also directed by Sydney Pollack.  OK, I will confess to having a crush on Robert Redford for many years. The movie, the story of a rugged mountain man,  prompted me to move to Logan, Utah where I spent all my spare time hiking or backpacking in the mountains.

My Robert Redford Brief Encounter 

I stood within a few feet of Robert Redford in 1975 at Utah State University.  He was there to talk to students about voting for a "green" fee, interesting because this issue has been revived recently on college campuses. He came into the student lounge where a small, mostly female, crowd was anxiously waiting.     As he passed us, the woman next to me took out her camera and snapped a picture but the flash didn't go off.    She tried again but failed.    Redford looked at her and said "You aren't having much luck, are you? "   We both nearly fainted.

When I returned back to work as a research technician in a genetics lab, everyone said I was acting funny.  I guess I was on cloud nine.  I won't go into detail about the fantasies I have had over the years about Redford.


African Trip Someday? 

 I never did save up enough money to go to Africa.  But, I can relive those times with the CD and the DVD.  


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I was just explaining to someone yesterday why it is that I am completely in love with Robert Redford. I watched Sneakers this weekend, so I've been quoting that whole movie (especially him) all week.
Joan K - my pick as well.

There is a wonderful sense of romance, adventure and honor in this film. That is why I think so many people relate to it. And with Sidney Pollock directing, it has his magical touch, too.

Rated for the love of khaki!
JK Brady--I seem to remember a lot of "safari" inspired clothing back then. A few years before, it was the Indiana Jones look--lots of guys wore Stetsons and leather jackets.
A C--yes, I believe I have watched every Redford movie, including Sneakers.
gmgaston--great that it is the favorite of so many. I like when a movie takes you to another time and place.
Ah, yes, the Robert Redford years. Who didn't get an endorphin high after watching him in a romantic lead. I vacillated between Redford and Newman. I remember feeling a delicious sense of longing after I saw "Out of Africa."
Outstanding movie choice! Wonderful actor can make for dreamy factacies...
Amanda Roa--I think I am still in the Robert Redford years. I like Paul Newman too. After his death, my husband and I did a little Newman film festival at our house, watching his movies for several days.
Just Cathy--thanks and yes I agree that Redford is a wonderful actor, unappreciated at Oscar time.
This was a favorite of another blogger here and for good reason. This movie would be stunning without any dialog. And I forgot about JJ another of my all time favorites. Incredible realism. Great Pick.
You know, I think Brad Pitt resembles a younger Redford. This is an excellent movie. There are sooooooooo many... and I do like Meryl Streep as well. I actually waited on Robert Redford and Diane Von Furstenberg years ago at the Nassau Colliseum. It was some kind of huge event and I was working for the catering company. He is short, isn't he? I remember looking eye to eye with him. Quite handsome. :)
gmgaston--glad you picked it and finally got to your blog. Good write up about the movie and your experiences.
"Jeremiah Johnson" is my favorite Redford film! I think you're the only person to ever recognize it before! As much as I loved "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting", this was my favorite Redford film. I did love "Out of Africa", but it just doesn't hit me as powerfully as the beautiful Johnson. I know it has a lot of people though.

Michael--now I see that several people chose this movie as their favorite. Yes, the movie is stunning as you say--everything about it.
screamin mama--I should have mentioned that I have a crush on Brad Pitt too because he looks like a younger Redford as you say. I will never forget Pitt in "A River Runs Through It" directed by Redford. Like Redford, Pitt is getting more interesting as he ages. Also, their politics are similar--both environmentalists.
Greg Thomas-- "Jeremiah Johnson" (1972)was ahead of its time in portraying native Americans in a positive way. The scenery was fantastic and you got the real feeling of what it might be like to be a mountain man, living solely on your wit and skills. That's great that you thought so too. I guess I put "Out of Africa" ahead of it because of the romance part.
In the late 80s, I must have listened to the wonderful John Barrymore soundtrack a thousand times. Great choice and great treatment, Mme K!
You might still get there! (I loved Jeremiah Johnson too.)
Monsiur Chariot--thanks for the note. I still listen to the CD sometimes but not as much as back then.
M B--maybe I might still go to Africa but I don't have the desire like I did back then. Maybe it's what I hear about the politics and violence. Back in the 80s, my husband used to say we needed to go before all the wild animals are gone. I think they are gone now, confined to parks.