When I was in elementary school, I was head over heels for Hayley Mills movies. Hayley Mills represented two things that I wanted to be – British and blonde. Fortunately, I was brought up in an age prior to the reintroduction of Disney princesses, so Hayley Mills was my version of a Disney princess. I can’t tell you how many times I watched the movie “Summer Magic” and admired her optimism, or watched “That Darn Cat” and admired her wit. I named my favorite Barbie Hayley. I practiced my British accent. Eventually, I grew out of it. However, I was nonetheless thrilled the other day when I was perusing Netflix to stumble upon a mini-series version of “The Flame Trees of Thika” starring Hayley Mills. Jackpot! First off, I love Elspeth Huxley’s childhood memoir, The Flame Trees of Thika, and so the thought of seeing it in a film version was pretty much thrilling. Then, the icing on the cake is that Hayley Mills starred in the role of “Tilly”, Elspeth’s mother, in this British mini-series from 1981.. I am two episodes into it, and so far, it hasn’t disappointed at all. In part, because it is just so uncomfortable to watch. You can’t help but wonder why it took the Kikuyu so long to organize the Mau Mau rebellion after watching the first 20 minutes of these British settlers. But of course, there still is Hayley Mills lovely British accent.
On a Netflix related note, I learned something new about Knightley while watching the 2004 PBS documentary about George Balanchine. Knightley is transfixed watching Balanchine choreography on the TV (as am I, of course), but the second the documentary showed a close-up picture of Balanchine’s face, Knightley immediately became frightened. He backed up away from the TV, and when he was a safe distance, standing behind me at my shoulder, he started growling, looking at the TV. It is not a behavior that I have ever seen from Knightley. Apparently, he loves the work of Balanchine, but not the man. It is an understandable reaction. It is well-known that Balanchine was a cat, not a dog, lover.
As for whether or not that picture of Balanchine is as terrifying as Knightley acted like it was, judge for yourself: