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Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun (1988)

The singular life of Beryl Markham - renowned aviatrix, author and adventurer - is depicted. Raised by her father in colonial East Africa, Beryl hunted with the Maasai, bred thoroughbred ... See full summary »


Tony Richardson


James Fox (article), Allan Scott
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stefanie Powers ... Beryl Clutterbuck Markham
Claire Bloom ... Lady Delamere
Peter Bowles ... Lord Jack Carberry
Brian Cox ... Jock Purves
Niamh Cusack ... Clara Clutterbuck
Trevor Eve ... Denys Finch Hatton
Frederic Forrest ... Raoul Schumacher
James Fox ... Mansfield Markham
Rupert Frazer Rupert Frazer ... Duke of Gloucester
Joseph Mydell ... Kibii
Sverre Anker Ousdal ... Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke
Nicola Pagett ... Emma Orchardson
John Rubinstein ... Arthur Kane
Jack Thompson ... Tom Campbell Black
Frederick Treves ... Lord Delamere


The singular life of Beryl Markham - renowned aviatrix, author and adventurer - is depicted. Raised by her father in colonial East Africa, Beryl hunted with the Maasai, bred thoroughbred horses, romanced Denys Finch-Hatton and defied constraining social rules. Based upon her own memoir 'West With the Night'. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

15 May 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Afrika, mein Leben See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Beryl Markham, as an older child, was played by Nairobi Academy student Alix Dayken. Her mother Anne - a teacher at Nairobi Academy - served as her stunt double in horseback scenes. Alix grew up to be an educator as well. See more »


Finch-Hatton's note refers to a quick overnight trip to Voi. In fact, he stopped by Voi enroute from Mombasa where, among other things, he had purchased a large sack of oranges. While visiting with the local administrator, he offered to take his wife up for a short flight but she had a bad feeling about it and refused. In the film, Tom expressed doubts about Finch-Hatton's worthiness as a pilot, his careless style of flying and of issues of stalling, as well as his disregard of paperwork. It is presumed that his crash was due to a lack of regard for proper maintenance, causing a mechanical failure. He was not flying at night, as indicated by the film, but during the day while circling the administrator's home a second time. The plane then fell out of the sky and burst into flame when it hit the ground. Among the wreckage they found a number of burned oranges. See more »

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User Reviews

If you enjoyed Out of Africa, you will enjoy this
2 April 2003 | by emuir-1See all my reviews

What a pity that the extraordinarily full life and accomplishments of Beryl Markham had to be squeezed into a brief mini-series. Beginning with King Solomon's Mines back in the fifties, I have always enjoyed films set in Africa, especially when they were actually filmed on location.

Beryl Markham had a very adventurous and accomplished life, which the condensation into 3+ hours does not do justice. Unfortunately, she is portrayed more as a party girl, drunk, and unfaithful wife with a lousy choice in men, than for her brilliant accomplishments - racehorse trainer, bush pilot, record setting pilot, and author.

Having said that, for those who enjoyed "The Flame Trees of Thika", "Out of Africa" and "We of the Never Never" this is a very watchable film, and different from the usual fare.

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