“Mercenaries, Maybe, But We Always Wear Our Dinner Jackets”

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Watching the 1985 Oscar-winning Best Picture "Out of Africa," it struck me as silly that Oxford-bred Berkeley Cole insisted on wearing a dinner jacket having supper with Finch Hatten (Robert Redford) at Baroness Blixen's (Meryl Streep) start up coffee farm "at the foot of the Ngong Hills." It was a little overkill "Downton Abbey-ish" in that Cole and Finch Hatten had been roughing it out in the Kenyan Great Rift Valley, dealing with native Somalis, Kikuyus, Mau Maus, hungry lions, elephant tusks, and an occassional threat of blackwater fever. Add the fact that the English basically decided that British East Africa (circa 1900) was really their property and not the hundreds of generations of native Kenyans, thereby simply stealing their land. It seems somewhat comical that the Edwardian fashion rule need apply. Maybe it gave Cole a feeling of propriety when the rest of his life was spinning off its spindle.

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