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The world famous movie director John Wilson has gone to Africa to make his next movie. He is an obstinate, contrary director who'd rather hunt elephants than takes care of his crew or movie. He has become obsessed with one particular elephant and cares for nothing else. Written by
could have been a fascinating study of Hollywood hubris
Clint Eastwood's caricature of legendary moviemaker John Huston marked a change of pace at the time from the Malpaso Man's usual shoot-'em-ups. But because this semi-fictional account of Huston's elephant safari during the filming of 'The African Queen' is so thinly disguised, all the coy name changes (Eastwood is "John Wilson") and character imitations seem pointless. The actor-director mimics Huston's distinctive voice and mannerisms with refreshing, unflattering candor, but is too relaxed to accurately capture the older filmmaker's irresponsible iconoclasm (when faced with a charging wild elephant one almost expects him to mutter, "...go ahead, jumbo, make my day.") It could have been a fascinating character study of silver screen illusions and obsessions, but too much of the film is marred by Eastwood's pedestrian direction (POV shots from a monkey?) and by Pete Viertel's self-promoting autobiographical screenplay, presenting himself (as 'The African Queen' co-writer "Pete Verrill") in a too transparently flattering portrait: honest, handsome, and (of course) a "brilliant" artist.
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