The Ghost and The Darkness

This is another film I have been meaning to catch for many years. It stars Val Kilmer, never a great actor, but Michael Douglas has his moments, and a script by William Goldman based on a true incident in 19th century Africa. It’s also about a bridge builder, so hey, how could I not see it at least once?

The true incident was the building of a railway by British engineers that was halted by a pair of man eating lions who incredibly took the lives of some 200 men. These beasts were not eating because they were hungry, but they enjoyed the killing, so can be seen as feline psychopaths on a grand scale, something we tend to think is a purely human behaviour. Not sure why, but the remains of the lions are in the Field Museum of Chicago. Having seen plenty of British films on the heroics of the empire builders, this was a film that seems to have dealt with other nationalities well. The exchanges between the Africans and Europeans showed respect and often warmth, though Douglas dancing with the Masai was… well, not sure about that bit.

I cannot watch a film without jotting down any great lines, so here’s a few:

“Have you ever failed?”
“Only in life”

“The memory I wanted was the family that I lost.”

8 thoughts on “The Ghost and The Darkness

  1. Oh good – something to add to my theory that everything that people’ve got, animals’ve got too! But I”m curious about how the lions got to eat so many people given that there must have been lots of mens with guns about.


    • There were only a few with guns, but being a major engineering work, there were loads of labourers, mostly Indian and African. The fact that there were two huge fast moving critters with big teeth and jaws ended to scare most people with guns. I think we share most things wih animals, we ust got better tools and weapons.

      On Tue, Dec 25, 2012 at 2:06 AM, texthistory


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