The Mountains of the Moon

DirectorBob Rafelson
StarringPatrick Bergin
Ian Glenn
Fiona Shaw
Richard E. Grant

This is an enthralling production set around Burton and Speke's search for the source of the River Nile. This was the burning geographical challenge of the Nineteenth Century and the public was spellbound by the exotic adventures of men such as these. The film itself captures the mood of the times surprisingly well with some lovely authentic looking sets and scenes. The love angles and homo-erotic tension built into the film are probably a little overly developed but this is a small sum to pay for such a lavish production of a fascinating period film.

The acting is superb as the two main protagonists play their complicated psychological battles against each other. The film is slightly sympathetic to Burton over Speke as Burton portrays the more modern characteristics of sympathy and respect for the cultures that he passes through. Speke doesn't come across nearly as sympathetically to a modern audience as he bludgeons his way through the ordeals with a self-confidence and determination that sits ill some 150 years later. However, please do not let this put you off seeing such a fine film. Hollywood rarely lavishes so much care and attention to our field of study. If you haven't seen this film yet, I suggest that you find a copy just as quickly as you can. You will not regret it.

Buy the DVD at: Amazon

Media | Silver Screen

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by Stephen Luscombe