The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952 film)
|The Snows of Kilimanjaro|
|Directed by||Henry King|
|Written by||Casey Robinson|
|Music by||Bernard Herrmann|
|Editing by||Barbara McLean|
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century Fox|
|Release date(s)||August 18, 1952|
|Running time||117 minutes|
|Box office||$6.5 million (US)|
The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a 1952 film based on the short story of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. The film version of the short story was directed by Henry King, written by Casey Robinson, and starred Gregory Peck as Harry, Susan Hayward as Helen, and Ava Gardner as Cynthia Green (a character invented for the film). The film's ending does not mirror the book's ending.
Considered by Hemingway to be one of his finest stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" was first published in Esquire magazine in 1936 and then republished in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938).
The film begins with the opening words of Hemingway's story. The story centers on the memories of disillusioned writer Harry Street (Gregory Peck) who is on safari in Africa. He has contracted a severely infected wound from a thorn prick, and lies outside his tent awaiting a slow death. The loss of mobility brings self-reflection. He remembers past years and how little he has accomplished in his writing. He realizes that although he has seen and experienced wonderful and astonishing things during his life, he had never made a record of the events. His status as a writer is undermined by his reluctance to actually write. He also quarrels with the woman with him, blaming her for his living decadently and forgetting his failure to write of what really matters to him: his experiences among poor and "interesting" people, rather than the smart Europeans with whom he has been with lately.
Despite the unwanted attentions of a witch doctor, he lives to see morning come. He watches vultures gather in a tree as he lies in the evening. He recapitulates his life and talks to his current girl-friend. He tells her about his past experiences; then arguing, then coming to realization about his attitude, and finally reaching a sort of peace, even love, with her.
- Gregory Peck as Harry Street
- Ava Gardner as Cynthia Green
- Susan Hayward as Helen
- Hildegard Knef as Countess Elizabeth
- Emmett Smith as Molo
- Leo G. Carroll as Uncle Bill
- Torin Thatcher as Mr. Johnson
- Marcel Dalio as Emile
- Leonard Carey as Dr. Simmons
- Paul Thompson as Witch Doctor
The film was shot on location in Nairobi, Kenya, Cairo, Egypt, the French Riviera, and studio work was done at Stage 14 in 20th Century Fox Studios. During production, on April 8, 1952, when Peck was carrying Gardner for a scene in the film, Peck wrenched his knee and production had to be postponed for 10 days while he recovered in his Pacific Palisades home, and Hildegarde Neff came down with influenza in the studios. She was able though to sing two Cole Porter tunes in the film. Jazz musician Benny Carter performs early on in the film.
Helped by a star-studded cast, the film was one of the most successful films of the early 1950s and earned $12,500,000 at the box office, very high for that period. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction (Lyle R. Wheeler, John DeCuir, Thomas Little, Paul S. Fox). The film was much acclaimed by critics, although some vary in their opinion of it, ranging from "simply plodding" to "much-maligned". The cinematography was highly acclaimed in particular, and even the sophisticated interiors were praised. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times described the cinematography as "magnificent and exciting" and said that the "overall production in wonderful color is full of brilliant detail and surprise and the mood of nostalgia and wistful sadness that is built up in the story has its spell." He praised Peck's character for his "burning temper and melancholy moods", although said that Ava Gardner's "pliant and impulsive" is a performance "as soggy and ambiguous as any in the film". Bowker's Directory described it as having "plenty of action & romance" and stated that it was "the popular "celebrity film" of its time". Hemingway, who disliked the typical Hollywood happy ending, accepted the money for the film, but he could not bring himself to view the film.
- 'Top Box-Office Hits of 1952', Variety, January 7, 1953
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: The Snows of Kilimanjaro|
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro at the Internet Movie Database
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]