In Fort Lamy, French Equatorial 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 <email@example.com>
There is violence in this story - but also the seeds of faith...There is hate in this story - but also the seeds of love...There is cowardice in this story - but also the seeds of courage...BUT ABOVE ALL THERE IS GREATNESS See more »
Do you know that tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year? Thirty thousand last year, to be exact. Thirty thousand. If they go on like that, there won't be any left. Anyone who's seen the great herds on the march across the last free spaces of the earth knows they're something the world can't afford to lose! But no... We have to capture, kill, destroy. All that's beautiful has got to go. All that's free! Soon we'll be alone on this earth with nothing to destroy but ourselves!
See more »
Interesting Movie That Was At Least 30 Years Ahead Of It's Time
This movie, about a lone man's quest to save the African elephants from extinction at the hands of big game and ivory hunters, undoubtedly suffered when it was initially released due largely to the fact that it was at least 30 years ahead of it's time. In the 1950s nobody gave a thought to things things like ecology, conservation and endangered species; let alone considered them to be causes worth fighting for. The fact is that, while it would be perfectly natural for modern-day audiences to recognize Morel as a heroic character, in the 1950s he would have been regarded as merely eccentric. That simply goes to show that, while it takes a long time to change peoples' minds, they do change nonetheless.
I understand that Trevor Howard was actually given the role of the central character, Morel, after William Holden dropped out. Frankly, Howard was probably the better choice to play the part in the first place, since he does a good job of keeping the attention of the story grounded where it should be. The film itself is somewhat uneven and episodic, with some interesting character actors making periodic appearances revolving around Morel. Orson Welles, in particular, makes a conspicuous appearance as a larger-than-life American television broadcaster who was probably modeled on Lowell Thomas.
All in all, "The Roots of Heaven" represents a good effort at tackling a subject that probably didn't attract it's initial audience anywhere near as much as it would undoubtedly attract audiences today. Given the change in the public's appreciation of environmentalism, it definitely rates a fresh look by young, contemporary audiences.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this