The community in White Mischief consists of a group of wealthy and jaded England aristocrats living in Kenya during World War II. While their relatives in Europe desperately try to survive, these expatriates swap wives, use drugs, and consume endless supplies of champagne. Sarah Miles, in an outrageous performance, plays Alice — the community’s high priestess of sexual adventure. Charles Dance is Erroll, a Scottish nobleman who seduces all the women.

The equilibrium in what they call Happy Valley is upset when Diana (Greta Scacchi) arrives from England with her elderly husband (Joss Ackland). She sparks lust in the men and envy in the women. In her wake comes a murder, two suicides, and a bizarre funeral ritual. Director Michael Radford and co-writer Jonathan Gems have done an admirable job adapting James Fox’s book for the screen. The film conveys the external beauty of these colonists and their possessions while capturing the internal rot which lies behind their restless hedonism. The result is a vivid morality tale about the high cost of decadent narcissism.