A croquet ball lands amid a tribe of forest-dwelling 'Mud People', providing the catalyst that brings together the two distinct worlds of 'Savages', Merchant Ivory Productions' intriguing, enigmatic 1972 comedy that explores, compares and contrasts the primitive and cultured sides of man's nature. Based on an original screenplay by two young writers, George Swift Trow of 'The New Yorker' magazine, and Michael O'Donoghue of television's "Saturday Night Live", 'Savages' seems at first the most unlikely film to have come from James Ivory. An absurdist view of history and the high life suggested partly by Luis Bunuel's 'The Exterminating Angel', it may remind the viewer of themes and favourite character types to be found in many of Ivory's later films. Retracing the croquet ball's path, the Mud People are led to an abandoned mansion, where they assume the trappings of 'civilisation', as they transform into the eccentric guests at a lavish and decadent 1930s weekend house party. Each 'civilised' character, however, cannot shed his or her true nature - savage conduct, atavistic social rituals and sexual abandonment are all common to both their 'primitive' and 'advanced', states.