Colonial tea planter John Wiley, visiting England at the end of World War II, wins and weds lovely English rose Ruth and takes her home to Elephant Walk, Ceylon, where the local elephants have a grudge against the plantation. Ruth's delight with the tropical wealth and luxury of her new home is tempered by isolation as the only white woman in the district; by her husband's occasional imperious arrogance; by a mutual physical attraction with plantation manager Dick Carver; and by the hovering, ominous menace of the hostile elephants... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Vivien Leigh was originally cast. Her mental illness begun affecting things during filming, and so she was replaced by Elizabeth Taylor. Many long shots and shots from behind are still of Leigh. See more »
At the beginning of the film, John Wiley (Peter Finch) does a voiceover reading of a page from "The Diary of Elephant Walk", shown on screen. Near the bottom of the page, Wiley (Finch), reading it aloud, says, "It was pouring with rain," even though the text seen on the screen reads "It was pouring rain." (In fact, as an Englishman, Wiley would normally have said - and written - "pouring with rain". "Pouring rain" is the American usage.) See more »
Life can be dull on a tea plantation until all hell breaks loose...
I guess the moral of this tale is "be careful where you build your house". Certainly not on the side of a cliff or--better still--not where the elephants like to roam, especially when they're thirsty.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR, in all her youthful splendor, was a last minute replacement for VIVIEN LEIGH, who bowed out due to severe mental illness that overtook her shortly after she read the script. In fact, there are a few glimpses of Miss Leigh remaining in certain long shots if you care to look.
But Elizabeth settles down in a role that does nothing for her acting career but does allow her to be drop dead gorgeous throughout. She has to feign impatience with a husband (PETER FINCH, who was, by the way, having an affair with Leigh), who ignores her and the uneasiness that any young bride would have if she finds herself in a strangely situated house--a huge tea plantation in Ceylon, India.
She copes bravely with her worries and falls in love with a neighbor (DANA ANDREWS, in one of his less impressive performances). Andrews seems to be sleep-walking through his role.
Finally, after a lot of dull talk, a cholera epidemic breaks out and nobody is minding the elephants. This is where they take their famous "walk" and practically destroy everything in their path.
Of course, even before their rampage, the script is a mess and the audience must have been stifling a few yawns while the melodrama builds to a ferocious climax.
It's all highly improbable with a sort of "Jane Eyre in India" feeling that pervades the eerie plot. But if you want to see Taylor in her prime, this is for you. Vivien probably never regretted being unable to finish the film.
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