Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Category: Reviews

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

A Gregory Peck movie I had wanted to watch for decades! So at last, and it was good to listen to Peck’s magical voice after a long time. Yet, the 1952 film had not enough to satiate my two decades of enthusiasm. I must mention that Ava Gardner is in the cast too.

The plot is derived mostly from Ernest Hemingway’s short story of the same title, though the ending differs. Peck plays Harry Street, a writer more in spirit than in reality. Having been injured and left immobile in Africa, he is cared for by his mate (Susan Hayward) while he relives the memories of, what he feels, a failed life, mainly because of failing to commit ardently to his love for a love-hungry woman Cynthia Green (Ava Gardner) and never actualizing his writing potential.

Peck’s performance, and Ava Gardner’s too, don’t fail to impress (they won’t be Peck and Gardner then). But he ‘s been put in a character that lacks the coherence and clarity he enjoyed in roles like Roman Holiday and To Kill a Mocking Bird. A writer lacking direction, then a hunter, and a soldier for a while—a mix of roles robs his character of true depth, something his deep eyes and voice can’t make up for completely. Cynthia is played by Gardner with impressive force of emotion, except the dying scene where they are taking her away on a stretcher. 

The tempo is slow, and the background music adds to the slowness, though it matches the mood of most of the scenes. Watch this movie for the simple reason that not watching a Gregory Peck movie, with an added Ava Gardner, is akin to ‘sinning’ in the filmic morals.