Savage Play

Savage Play
95 min TV Movie
A fictional drama based on true events and legend. In 1988 the son of an English remittance man and his mother the daughter of a great Maori Chief travels to Great Britain with the New Zealand Rugby Team to play and look for his father who deserted the family when he was very young. He meets and falls in love with Earl's young grand-daughter.
(New Zealand / Scottish Production). (1994)

A “savage” from “the far side of the Empire” He became a sporting hero and a music hall star. He hunted with aristocracy and socialised with the Prince of Wales and he pricked social taboos when he fell passionately in love with the fair and spirited granddaughter of an Earl.

A fictional drama based on true events and legend.

Pony is the son of an English remittance man and the daughter of a Maori Leader. In 1888 he travels to Great Britain with the New Zealand Native Rugby Team to play sport, and to seek his father who, when Pony was very young, had deserted him. The tour is intensive, and undercapitalised. The team has to play almost every day to scrape together survival funds. But extraordinary Pony comes to move between the Spartan circumstances of the Team and the decadent world of the English aristocracy.

The Team's very first game, held on the Earl's estate, leads to the introduction of Pony to the Earl's fine young granddaughter Charlotte.

Lady Charlotte was poisoned against her grandfather by her mother. The Earl has difficulty in convincing Charlotte to stay with him after his mother takes her own life, but he does, and Charlotte blooms with the freedom the Earl gives her.

The Earl invites Pony to join a hunt on his Scottish estate. He considers that Pony will amuse Charlotte and raise her spirits. The hunt is a decadent affair held in an amazing building perched on a tiny island on a moody lock. Guests include the Prince of Wales and his companion Violet, a “professional beauty”. Over two days of partying a deep attraction forms between Pony and Charlotte.

Pony’s best mate in the Team, a giant of a man nick named Tabby, forms his own romantic connection, with a brassy larger than life music hall performer, Miss Luscious Trill. The troop Luscious works for is managed by the diminutive Kim, whose stage act is to sing sentimental songs while dancing on a bass drum. Kim hears Pony and Tabby’s fine singing voices and before long the pair are supplementing the Team’s finances by performing.

At a rugby match on the Backs of Cambridge University the young bloods of the home team incensed that Pony should be involved with “one of their own” brutally attack Pony. But the attack draws Pony and Charlotte deep into a passionate relationship. Pony convalesces at Earl’s country house. The Earl becomes so enchanted with Pony that he gives his consent for Pony and Charlotte to marry.

The deep undercurrent of the relationship between the Earl and Charlotte’s mother, and a relationship that swells between the Earl and Violet, the shock and confrontation when Pony does meet his father, the pull on Pony of his Maori heritage build the story to an emotional climax.
Pony Productions Presents
an Alan Lindsay David Hannay Production
Starring: Ian Richardson, Peter Kaa, Liza Walker
Written and Directed by Alan Lindsay

3 x 1 hour or 120 min feature