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The Roots of Heaven (1958)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 504 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 7 critic

In Fort Lamy, French Equitorial Africa, idealist Morel launches a one-man campaign to preserve the African elephant from extinction, which he sees as the last remaining "roots of Heaven." ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Forsythe
Juliette Gréco ...
Minna (as Juliette Greco)
...
Morel
...
Abe Fields
...
Cy Sedgewick
...
Saint Denis
...
Orsini
Grégoire Aslan ...
Habib
André Luguet ...
Governor
Friedrich von Ledebur ...
Peer Qvist (as Friedrich Ledebur)
Edric Connor ...
Waitari
Olivier Hussenot ...
Baron
Pierre Dudan ...
Major Schölscher
Marc Doelnitz ...
De Vries
Francis De Wolff ...
Father Farque (as Francis de Wolff)
Edit

Storyline

In Fort Lamy, French Equitorial Africa, idealist Morel launches a one-man campaign to preserve the African elephant from extinction, which he sees as the last remaining "roots of Heaven." At first, he finds only support from Minna, hostess of the town's only night club, who is in love with him, and a derelict ex-British Army Major, Forsythe. His crusade gains momentum and he is soon surrounded by an odd assortment of characters: Cy Sedgewick, an American TV commentator who becomes impressed and rallies world-wide support; a U.S. photographer, Abe Fields, who is sent to do a picture story on Morel and stays on to follow his ideals; Saint Denis, a government aide ordered to stop Morel; Orsini, a professional ivory hunter whose vested interests aren't the same as Morel's; and Waitari, leader of a Pan-African movement who follows Morel only for the personal good it will do his own campaign. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 October 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las raíces del cielo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Holden was originally cast with top billing. However, he later pulled out and was replaced by Trevor Howard. Errol Flynn was then given top billing, even though Howard had the lead role. See more »

Quotes

Father Farque: Men have a soul.
Morel: Well, they should show it more often.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Minna's Theme
(uncredited)
Music by Henri Patterson
Arranged by Malcolm Arnold
See more »

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User Reviews

Elephants can remember
18 January 2008 | by See all my reviews

Based on a novel by Romain Gary (who was Jean Seberg's husband ;she was the star of one of his obscure works "Les Oiseaux Vont Mourir Au Pérou" ),"Roots of Heaven " is generally dismissed ,even by Huston's buffs.And nevertheless....

It was an ecological movie,at a time it was not trendy :as Nicholas Ray ,at about the same time,was filming "wind across the everglades" ,a heartfelt plea for the defense of Florida 's wildlife,Huston did the same for the elephants ,victims of the poachers .THe odd couple,who is one of Huston's recurrent features is present:Morel ,who is championing the elephants cause ,is joined by a prostitute (played by glorious actress/chanteuse Juliette Greco).

"Roots of Heaven" was a definitive improvement on "the Barbarian and the Geisha " and paved a reliable way to works to come such as "the unforgiven" , "the misfits" and the highly superior "Freud" and "Night of the Iguana" .This is an overlong movie,but even if it cannot be ranked among the director's best ,it's worth at least a watch .


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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