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|Directed by||John Trent|
|Produced by||Robert Maxwell, John Trent|
|Written by||Robert Maxwell, William Stevenson|
|Based on||The Bushbabies|
by William Stevenson
|Starring||Margaret Brooks (Jackie Leeds)|
Lou Gossett (Tembo)
Donald Houston (John Leeds)
Laurence Naismith (Professor 'Cranky')
|Music by||Les Reed|
The Bushbaby is a 1969 American film based on the novel The Bushbabies (1965) by William Stevenson and adapted by Robert Maxwell. It was directed and produced by John Trent and stars Margaret Brooks and Lou Gossett in the leading roles, also starring Donald Houston and Laurence Naismith.
The film tells an episode in the life of Jackie Leeds, daughter of John Leeds. When the African country in which they reside, Kenya, declares its independence, John Leeds assumes that he has lost his job and must leave for London with his daughter. This proves difficult for Jackie, who is convinced that she belongs in Kenya, especially after their friend Tembo presents her with a pet bushbaby that she names 'Komba', which she will have to return to its natural habitat prior to leaving.
The film was the first adaptation of the book The Bushbabies by William Stevenson. Decades later, in 1992, the story was adapted for television as an anime series belonging to the World Masterpiece Theater from Nippon Animation. The series received the international English title of The Bush Baby (大草原の小さな天使 ブッシュベイビー, Sougen no chiisana tenshi busshu beibii).
One night in the Kenyan grasslands, Jackie Leeds and her family's native friend and servant, Tembo Murumbi, chase a young galago about its preferred habitat, a baobab tree. Tembo catches the small animal and offers it to Jackie as a gift; she names the small bushbaby 'Komba'. A year or so passes since this first encounter, and one day at church, Komba's playfulness causes commotion, disrupting the daily hymn. Feeling defeated, the pastor yields the podium to Professor Crankshaw, who takes the opportunity to bid farewell to a number of church members. Jackie notices that Crankshaw, 'Cranky' as she calls him, looks firmly into her father's eyes as he speaks, and she becomes alarmed. After church, Jackie's suspicions are confirmed when her father explains that, due to the new powers in Kenya's government, his employment as a game warden is likely to be terminated. They'll leave for London where he'll fill an opening at the zoo. Jackie is upset at the news, specially when she learns that Komba will have to be left behind. For Jackie, leaving Africa means leaving the home she's known all of her life: her school, her friends, and the grave of her mother, Penelope Leeds, who had been killed in the uprising of 1961.
- Margaret Brooks – Jacqueline 'Jackie' Leeds
- Louis Gossett – Tembo Murumbi
- Donald Houston – John Leeds
- Laurence Naismith – Professor 'Cranky' Crankshaw
- Marne Maitland – Hadj
- Geoffrey Bayldon – Tilison
- Jack Gwillim – Ardsley
- Noel Howlett – Reverend Barlow
- Tommy Ansah – policeman
- Jumoke Debayo – bus woman
- Harold Goodwin – Steward Bertie
- Charles Hyatt – Gideon
- Willie Johah – police sergeant
- Simon Lack – first officer
- Victor Maddern – barman
- Ellario Pedro – policeman
- Martin Wyldeck – captain
- Sid Hunt – second officer
- Mohinder Singh Matharoo – Sikh policeman
- Johan Mkopi – police constable
- Kasesa Mayega – elephant poacher
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