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The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Writer Harry Street reflects on his life as he lies dying from an infection while on safari in the shadow of Mount Kilamanjaro.

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(screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Harry Street
...
Helen
...
Cynthia Green
...
Countess Liz (as Hildegarde Neff)
...
...
Johnson
Ava Norring ...
Beatrice
...
Connie
...
Emile
Vicente Gómez ...
Guitarist (as Vicente Gomez)
Richard Allan ...
Spanish Dancer
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Storyline

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 <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | writer | africa | countess | safari | See All (172) »

Taglines:

His Adventures . . . Like His Loves . . . Were Great and Exciting !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 December 1952 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although there was some impressive second unit work shot in Kenya, the principal actors shot their African scenes in Hollywood. See more »

Goofs

At the restaurant in Spain, prior to when Harry leaves Cynthia at the table, he puts his left hand on her left arm in the long shot. In the closer shot, he is seen to take his right hand off her left arm as he stands up. See more »

Quotes

Harry Street: [narrating] I suppose it was the elusiveness of Liz which was her main attraction. She was something to hunt down and trap and capture. The Countess Elizabeth - Frigid Liz - the semi-iceerg from the semi-tropics!
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Connections

Featured in Goodbye to Language (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

You Do Something to Me
(alles war so leer) (uncredited)
Written by Cole Porter
Sung by Hildegard Knef
at the Piano: Amanda Ambrose
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User Reviews

So-so film that is never as complex or as tragic as it should have been and is a lot less interesting for it
2 April 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Having saved a young man from a hippo, writer Harry Street lies dying from an infection in his African safari campsite. As his unappreciated wife Helen tends to his wounds and ensures him everything will be alright, Harry sinks into feverish reminiscing about a life that he perceives as being a failure in terms of both writing and his love life. He recalls the one woman that he believes he truly loved which, helpfully for Helen, isn't his current wife but a woman called Cynthia Green whom he met in Paris. The more he recalls the deeper his depression and the more Helen watches him surrendering his fight and will to live.

Taking a "deathbed" flashback structure we always know that things between Harry and his other loves didn't work out and the only question is "why". On paper we are meant to be with a bitter angry man who is facing death with a superficial devil-may-care attitude but underneath carries a deep sense of regret. The first problem I encountered with the film was that the script didn't carry this off very well at all and I wasn't convinced about the supposed years of failure that are stacked on top of Harry – people with such things have much more baggage than came out here. The flashbacks are reasonable interesting but are closer to melodrama than a searing tale of regret and loss, which personally I thought it should have been. The film does flit around the world which must have been a selling point for it at the time of release but it doesn't actually add much to the story or characters other than providing a different background for some scenes.

King's direction is fairly workmanlike; he enjoys the locations but the mix of his footage with stock footage doesn't sit well together – I know it is a limitation of the period but it still doesn't work. Peck is solid enough in the lead but he does the superficial things and doesn't get to grips with anything deeper or more complex. He gets no help from Hayward who is watching her husband long for women past but never appears to have any problem with this whatsoever. Gardner is pretty but again she doesn't convince in her character when asked to do anything more (seeing her in the middle of the Spanish civil war was pretty funny as well). Support from Leo G Carroll is always welcome but he doesn't have much to work with here.

Overall this is a so-so film that never fulfils its potential or is as engaging as it should have been. Instead of being complex and full of pain it is melodramatic and soapy; instead of being about the tragic souls of the characters it seems to have as much interest in stock footage and global locations. The cast give solid but superficial performances in response to this and the film never really gets a handle on any of it.


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