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Josef von Sternberg
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As writer Harry Street lays gravely wounded from an African hunting accident he feverishly reflects on what he perceives as his failures at love and writing. Through his delirium he recalls his one true love Cynthia Green who he lost by his obsession for roaming the world in search of stories for his novels. Though she is dead Cynthia continues to haunt Street's thoughts. In spite of one successful novel after another, Street feels he has compromised his talent to ensure the success of his books, making him a failure in his eyes. His neglected wife Helen tends to his wounds, listens to his ranting, endures his talk of lost loves, and tries to restore in him the will to fight his illness until help arrives. Her devotion to him makes him finally realize that he is not a failure. With his realization of a chance for love and happiness with Helen, he regains his will to live. Written by
E.W. DesMarais <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The interesting characters and some good performances are what keep this adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" going. Many of the story details reflect the movie's source, although it has a heavier, slower tone instead of Hemingway's own economical style of writing. The scenes of hunting, bull-fighting, and combat all fit in with Hemingway's fascination with vigorous action, and the screenplay does make some use of Hemingway's 'leopard riddle', but not with any significant depth. Instead, it does have a lot of photography of African scenery and wildlife, which is good in itself.
Gregory Peck gives his usual effective performance in the lead role as Harry, a jaded writer who reflects on his past loves as he suffers through the effects of a dangerous injury. Peck fleshes out the character believably, alternating between the writer's energetic but flawed personality in the flashbacks and his increasing delirium in the present. It's a different kind of role for Peck, and he thus adapts his style somewhat from that of his more well- remembered roles.
Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward, along with Hildegarde Neff in a smaller part, portray the women in Harry's past and present. Gardner's ethereal elegance makes a nice contrast with Hayward's stronger screen persona, and Neff's characterization is a believable depiction of the unsuitable woman whom Harry finds during a time of despair.
The characters and the African atmosphere are the parts of the movie that work the best, and they make it worth seeing. It moves rather slowly, and occasionally expends screen time on less interesting material, or otherwise it might have been more compelling. It still leaves you with a thoughtful impression of its main characters.
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