Where the River Runs Black
|Where the River Runs Black|
|Directed by||Christopher Cain|
|Produced by||Joe Roth
Harry J. Ufland
|Screenplay by||Neal Jimenez &
|Based on||Where the River Runs Black
by David Kendall
|Music by||James Horner|
|Cinematography||Juan Ruiz Anchía|
|Edited by||Richard Chew|
|Running time||100 min.|
|Box office||$676,166 (USA)|
Where the River Runs Black is a 1986 film directed by Christopher Cain. The screenplay was written by Neal Jimenez and Peter Silverman, based on the novel by David Kendall. The film was entirely shot in Brazil.
Father Mahoney (Peter Horton) is a missionary priest in the Amazon. He falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious Indian woman (Divana Brandão) and together they have a son. Mahoney is killed by an anaconda, leaving the Indian woman to raise their child alone. The mother herself is killed by a band of hunters led by Orlando Santos (Cástulo Guerra), and the child, now aged six, is left to fend for himself in the jungle. He lives an idyllic existence, swimming with the river dolphins.
The story of a feral child spreads through the towns along the river, and when the boy is ten he is captured and taken to town. There he comes to the attention of Father O'Reilly (Charles Durning) who was an old friend of Mahoney. When he sees that the boy has Mahoney's crucifix he realizes that he is Mahoney's child. O'Reilly baptizes the boy, who does not speak or understand language, naming him Lazaro. O'Reilly places Lazaro in an orphanage run by nuns, where the boy learns to speak and is befriended by an older boy called Segundo (Ajay Naidu). Father O'Reilly continues to visit Lazaro, taking him out for ice cream.
The orphans are presented to a benefactor of the orphanage, a successful businessman who is also a candidate for governor of the province. Lazaro recognises the benefactor as Orlando Santos, the man who killed his mother. Lazaro runs away from the orphanage, intent on finding Santos and killing him. Segundo insists on going with him. Father O'Reilly learns that Lazaro has run away and begins to search for him. Lazaro and Segundo survive by shining shoes on the streets while they search for Santos. They narrowly elude Father O'Reilly at an ice cream stand he had previously frequented with Lazaro. They follow a campaign vehicle to Santos's house, where a political fundraiser is underway. Santos is giving a speech to his guests. Lazaro takes a sharpened stake from the garden and uses it as a spear, hurling it at Santos's head. It narrowly misses. Lazaro makes his escape, but Segundo is caught by Santos's security people. Santos questions Segundo, and comes to realize that Lazaro can link him to his long-ago crime.
Santos sends Segundo to a quarry he owns to serve as an indentured laborer - and as a lure for Lazaro. Sure enough, Lazaro turns up at the quarry and helps Segundo to escape. Together they head into the jungle, intending to return to Lazaro's childhood home by the river. Santos tracks them through the jungle. Meanwhile, Father O'Reilly travels up the Amazon by boat, acting on a hunch that Lazaro might return home. Lazaro reaches the banks of the river and is about to plunge in when Santos catches up with him, grabbing him from behind, carrying him into the river and trying to drown him. But Lazaro is saved when the river dolphins he grew up with attack Santos, butting him with their snouts and causing him to drown. Father O'Reilly arrives and is reunited with Lazaro.
|Charles Durning||Father O'Reilly|
|Peter Horton||Father Mahoney|
|Dana Delany||Sister Ana|
|Alessandro Rabelo||Lazaro (age 10)|
|Marcelo Rabelo||Lazaro (age 6)|
|Divana Brandão||Eagle Woman|
|Cástulo Guerra||Orlando Santos|
|Conchata Ferrell||Mother Marta|
|“||Where the River Runs Black is strictly for the kids. Kids with patience, that is, for this movie... seems to be in slow motion even when it's not. Christopher Cain, the director, lets the story dawdle while the camera basks in the Brazilian sun streaming through trees or shutters or church windows..... With about 15 minutes to go... the story picks up pace... but by now, I'm afraid, the kids may have dozed off.||”|
|“||Here is a fable with the most unlikely ingredients, and yet, like all fables, it will work if we allow it to... Told in the wrong way, "Where the River Runs Black" could very easily seem silly. But the director, Christopher Cain, tells it with a dreamy inevitability, and for me, at least, the spell worked.||”|
- New York Times review
- "Where The River Runs Black :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- Official website at MGM.com
- Where the River Runs Black at the Internet Movie Database
- Where the River Runs Black at AllMovie