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Simba (1955)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Kenya, 1950s. Howard arrives in Kenya to help his brother with his farm. He is met at the airport by childhood sweetheart Mary - the real reason for his journey. Upon arrival on his brother's farm, Howard learns that his brother has been murdered by the Mau Mau. Howard is devastated and furious, and finding that there is little hope of justice, he expresses his distrust of all Africans and determines to sell up and leave Kenya.

Howard's distrust of Africans extends to Dr Karanja, the British educated, black medical doctor for whom Mary acts as nurse. Howard is hostile to Karanja and is concerned about the amount of time Mary spends with the doctor. Mary merely admires and respects Karanja.

Although the police, with the help of Karanja's father, the local Tribal Chief, assure Howard that they are doing their best to control the uprising, he is unimpressed and believes they should be taking even more stringent measures, a view shared by Mary's father, Mr Crawford.

Mau Mau acts of brutality and murder continue and Howard is attacked in his own home with the complicity of some of his own servants. After a long fight Howard drives off his attackers. When the police arrive, Howard discovers that all but one of his servants has run away. After again berating the police for not doing enough he resolves to ensure that he is better armed at all times.

The British settlers call a meeting and resolve to take more stringent methods to protect each other. Howard and Mary's relationship blossoms into love. A police round up of suspects reveals that the Tribal Chief, Dr Karanja's father, is in fact the leader of a Mau Mau division. Karanja is chased into the forest by the police but manages to escape. Howard sends away his last remaining servant and instructs him to take a young African orphan boy with him to safety. Attacks grow more frequent and Mary's parents are murdered by the Mau Mau.

Howard and Mary are cornered as their house is surrounded by Mau Mau. There seems to be no escape when Dr Karanja arrives. He pleads with the Mau Mau after realising that his father, the Tribal Chief, is leading them. Karanja's father is about to strike his son with a machete, but is then shot by Howard. The Tribal Chief's men attack and fatally wound Karanja. He dies in the arms of Mary and Howard. The Police arrive and the Mau Mau flee.