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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 <email@example.com>
Director Henry King is what keeps this movie from getting 10 stars. Yet, despite his poor cinematography, poor directing and failure to take advantage of scenic backdrops (yet they shine through occasionally), the cast and the story save the film.
Peck portrays former Chicago Times journalist Harry Street, a fictional character penned by Ernest Hemmingway, portraying a strong glimpse himself . . . a bit ego-centric while feigning humility and modesty. Peck is superb at bringing Harry Street to life . . . and Hemmingway is always looming in the background of Street's character, like a phantom . . . the boozing womanizer, masking his insecurities with alcohol, egotism, aloofness toward other's feelings and needs. The beautiful, sexy, gorgeous Ava Gardner, one of the VERY few Hollywood starlets who could actually act, gives an excellent performance as the emotionally insecure, very dependent, sexually charged, less than moral, love of his life. Co-dependency could have been based on her character, Cynthia Green. Cynthia was too insecure to let Street live his life . . . Street was too self-centered and aloof to recognize Cynthia's emotional needs . . . very Hemmingway!
As he lay delirious on a bed in Africa, from a thorn scratch infection, snow covered Mt. Kilimanjaro looming in the background, Street recalls the lost loves of his past years, with Cynthia dominating his memories, as his one true love. His current wife, Helen, portrayed by Susan Hayward, tries desperately to find her place in his life, always feeling herself in the shadow of Cynthia and a later love, Countess Liz, played by Hildegard Neff, a selfish and insecure socialite, desperate to hang onto Street. Feverishly, Street flows in and out of consciousness, the scenes from his memories playing out in his mind, as Helen compassionately wipes his sweaty brow and tries to care for him, as he pushes her away.
This is a good film! Hemmingway fans should receive it well, as should fans of Peck and Gardner.
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