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|Index||15 reviews in total|
I first saw this film as a youngster, and it had a huge impression on
me. As this movie showed on TV semi regularly back then I watched it
many times. I was blown away the first time and every other time I saw
it. With each re-watching I always picked up on new things I'd missed
or didn't understand before, I was a kid after all.
Wind Across the Everglades invokes raw power, beauty, commitment, wilderness, redemption, morality, Human Nature, Nature.
This movie really needs to be re-released on DVD. I haven't seen it in maybe 36 years or more, but still consider it a major "Classic" that has everything going for it..great acting, great story, a non-partisan moral.
I remember seeing this film in 1961 at a local drive in theater.As a native Floridian I enjoyed it very much,especially since it was filmed nearby in Naples, Florida.To me it was an accurate depiction of how life was back then. Poaching was common,wildlife officers and environmentalists were fighting a losing battle against it. It showed Florida as it was at the turn of the century,when it was young and wild. This movie is truly a treasure of history in this area. I have been hoping it would be re-released for many years but to no avail. It is a shame that it cannot be viewed by our children.I would greatly appreciate owning a copy of this great film. Skip Kent,Bonita Springs, Fl.
For it's time, I considered it original, thought-provoking, and typical of Schulberg's quirky, off-beat style. I would rate "Wind Across the Everglades", as a movie ahead of it's time, given it's now much-debated theme. I still remember--after almost 40 years---Burl Ives speaking lines which included the phrase "A man's an eel", or did I hear it right? Finally, it was the first film in which I ever saw ChristopherPlummer. I would dearly love to see it again, but it's seldom on television, and in my home town of Sligo, in the Irish Republic, it is not available on video or DVD. Well,that's about wraps my comment. Goodbye, and thank you Paddy Coen.
Remarkable film of the legendary director Nicholas Ray, who despite his
virtues be a film is almost unknown, perhaps because of its purely
exotic and unusual. Based on a script written and produced by the great
writer Budd Schulberg, who apparently greatly annoyed Ray on the set,
even to complete filming and personally supervise the assembly, the
final film is strangely personal, an adventure film, wildly romantic
and environmentalist, which affects the taste of the author by
"outsiders", men who choose to live by their own rules (spelled out in
the sequence of drunkenness), narrating the battle and recognition
between a young idealist and quarrelsome, Plummer While playing a rare
hero who will be responsible for protecting the birds and the natural
reserve area, and the legendary hunter "Cottonmouth" huge Burl Ives, a
kind of incarnation of the swamps, red-bearded god thundering and
pirate honorable living free with his cohort of underprivileged and
villains, in the twilight of a fading time.
Strangely fever, beautifully photographed (chaired by a bright green and watery), with an exemplary atmosphere with a very elaborate staging, a job to rediscover, unbalanced and flawed but unforgettable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Final Battle...
No, not Ecologists vs. Poachers...
But the real battle!
Auteurists vs. Writer-Driven Cinema!
The showing in NY was a trip, with a Schulberg relative coming to the showing - at a Nicholas Ray retrospective, no less! - to announce that this was not only NOT a Nicholas Ray film, but CLEARLY a Schulberg film (this was simply bad manners, given the occasion). And she went on to talk about how drug-addled Ray was during the shooting (that was worse than bad manners, given the occasion).
Anyway...if you care...
Lots of Ray stuff: the created "family unit" of outlaws, with their twisted bonhomie and their rituals; the sense that living in a particular "natural" environment creates an alternative sense of right and wrong, and that someone who enters into that environment has to confront this other reality, even if it goes against his or her belief system. Christopher Plummer finds himself in a position akin to that of Peter O'Toole in The Savage Innocents, Robert Ryan in On Dangerous Ground,Susan Hayward in The Lusty Men.
On the other hand...lots of stagy soliloquies, lots of scenes which don't get to really inflect; they just make their plot points and move on. One can imagine a lot of footage which was discarded because it didn't "advance the story".
Some beautiful swamps and animals.
It's a real mess - but a beautiful mess.
Film-making...it can be a real heartbreak for the directors who believe in their personal vision.
Taken in the context of the 'feather' craze that almost decimated the birds of the Everglades at the turn of the 20th Century, this movie -almost- presaged Rachel Carson and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. A moving depiction of the River Of Grass, those who lived WITH it and those who tried to DESTROY it. Christopher Plummer and Burl Ives gave this movie a depth that seemed effortless It deserved a wider release and I can only hope it will be issued as a DVD. It was based upon a true story of a federal wildlife ranger. The Manchineal trees have been displaced by Malelucas, what a pity, I would rope all the inhabitants of South Florida to the formers caustic trunks and enjoy he howls of pain
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this title as a young boy (7 or 8) and got seriously warped by its palpably sensual cinematography and scenes of fetishistic violence. It takes place in fin de siecle Florida with Burl Ives as the head of a bunch of exotic bird poachers and Christopher Plummer as the driven game warden trying to shut down their action. The violence I remember is a fight between Plummer and one of Ive's gang called 'Jockey' who lays about Plummer viciously with a riding crop before Plummer beats the crap out of him in a pool of ankle deep muck. Ives picks up the half-dead Jockey (who always wears riding silks) and carries his senseless, mud-drenched form as tenderly as a child, "You can sleep in my bed tonight, Jockey" he says - creepy as hell. In another scene a man is tied to a 'poison tree' and left overnight to die, screaming. The next morning we see his body, still tied to the tree, his face covered with oozing blisters. Horrible. And yep, I'd love to see this flick again!
Burl Ives and his band of lowlife bird poachers are the equivalent of the "rednecks" in "Deliverance". Christopher Plummer on the other hand is their Audobon Society adversary, trying to protect the tropical birds and their valuable feathers. When the movie is in the Everglades, it moves along at a pretty good pace, while the Miami scenes feel padded. I'd imagine there has to be at least a bunch of fashionable ladies parading around in their feathered hats to make a point, but the scene on the beach and Gypsy Rose Lee's ladies of the evening are somewhat overplayed. The film is strongest when Ives and Plummer are on screen, almost everyone else is forgettable. I would rate this only slightly above average, but definitely watchable. - MERK
And in Nicholas Ray's canon,it's not the only one.Few directors (if
there were any) displayed ecological concern fifty years ago.Maybe John
Huston did when he filmed the plight of the elephants in "roots of
Heaven" at the time.But it was not as successful as "wind across the
They say Ray did not finish the film (once again it was not the only one;see also "55 days at Peking" )but ,apart from his plea for the everglades wildlife,we find one of his permanent features:the Walt/Cottonmouth relationship is very complex and verges on a father and son one (for that matter ,see also " knock on any door" "the lusty men" " run for cover" ..) The picture with these birds flying away is sublime.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILERS** Set at the turn of century in the uncharted Florida
Everglades the movie is about the feather craze that swept the nation
and the world that resulted in the killing of millions of Blue Herons
and Snow White Egrets by poachers who got as much as $100.00 an ounce,
this in the early 1900's being a King's Ransom, for the birds beautiful
and valuable feathers.
Upset over whats happening down under in the Sunshine State the Audubon Society had the Federal Government send law enforcement Marshall's down to Florida to prevent and arrest the gangs of poachers, who called themselves Swamp Rats,and prevent them from upsetting the delicate balance of nature that in the end would destroy all the wildlife in the swamps and wetlands.
Nature and bird lover Walt Murdoc, Christopher Plumer, goes down to Miami as a Federal Mrashall to enforce the law against the indiscriminate killing of birds by the scuzzy and insensitive poachers and has it out with the biggest baddest and heaviest poachers of them all Cottonmouth, Burl Ives, and his motley gang of Swamp or Water Rats. Even though the Cottonmouth Gang could easily take out and put away Mudoc they instead have one of their lackey's Seminole Indian guide Billy One Arm get Murdoc lost in the swamps where he's to end up as dinner for the local alligators.
Billy won over by Murdoc's love of nature and concern for the birds as well as his people the native Seminole Indians can't bring himself to do him in which later costs Billy One Arm his life. Cottonmouth enraged at Billy One Arm's humanity, which he totally lacks, gives him the full treatment by having Billy One Arm tied to the poisonous Manchioneel tree, thats a fate far worse then death itself. The the sap of the plant slowly eats away Billy's skin and infects his blood stream killing poor Billy with it's lethal venom that's more deadlier then the bite of a hundred cottonmouths or rattle snakes.
Murdoc still trying to arrest Cottonmouth & Co and bring him back to civilization, Miami, to face justice goes by himself to Cottonmouth's hideout, Cottonmouth Key. But instead of Murdoc bing killed by the murderous poachers he's invited to a drinking contest with the far bigger, who can really pack it away, Cottonmouth which ends up with Murdoc passing out from consumption and ending up in the swamps during a raging hurricane.
The ending is a little too much to take with for some strange reason Cottonmouth agreeing to go back to Miami with Murdoc, after he recovered from his hangover, and give himself up but under only one condition: that Murdoc do all the driving or rowing through the snake and alligator infested swamps! We have then Murdoc and Cottonmoth sloughing their way back to Miami with Murdoc,like Cottonmouth planned, losing his way and getting an ore bashed over his head by Cottonmouth. This happened after a delirious Murdoc shot at an imaginary snake that he thought was trying to kill him. Cottonmouth losing his hat, with a white bird feather stuck on it, later goes back to the swamp to retrieve it and as Murdoc is just about to be submerged by the rising waters. It's then when Cottonmouth gets bitten by a real cottonmouth that leaves him crumpled up, like a bag of potatoes, and slowly dying from the bite of the poisonous reptile.
Murdoc gets instructions in how to get back to Miami from the dying Cottonmouth who, with him at death's door, finally sees what he overlooked all his life in the beauty of nature and the indigenous birds of the Glade's as he loses consciousness and peacefully passes away. As he finally departs from this realm of existence the birds of the Glade's that he and his gang of poachers had been ruthlessly gunning down by the hundreds,for a nice and tidy profit, end up pelting Cottonmouth with their daily deposits.
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