Thursday, February 18, 2010
The Naked Jungle(1954). Director Byron Haskin. Cast: Charlton Heston and Eleanor Parker. Telling the story of an attack of army ants on a Peruvian cocoa plantation, it was based on the short story "Leiningen Versus the Ants" by Carl Stephenson.
In the jungles of South America, as Joanna Leiningen of New Orleans travels by river boat to meet her new husband Christopher. While on the river Joanna, asks the commissioner what her new husband is like.
After reaching the plantation, Joanna meets some of the house staff, including Incacha, his "number one man" and Zala, her personal servant, who shows her to her room.
Later Joanna meets Christopher as he comes in from the jungle, sweaty from a hard day working on the plantation. Christopher, is startled by how beautiful she is and although she assures him that she is ready to fulfill "all her marital obligations," he seems very distant. Joanna tells him that she read some of the letters he sent to his brother, Christopher becomes angry and leaves the room.
Later Christopher orders Joanna to play the grand piano and then asks if she speaks any foreign languages. Joanna accuses Christopher of treating her like a possession, and he complains that she is too "perfect" and must be hiding something. Joanna tells him that she is a widow and that her husband was a drunk, Christopher, who has lived in the jungle since he was nineteen and has no experience with women, says she is "used."
Christopher gives Joanna a tour of the plantation, showing her the ways of jungle life, including Kutina"s shrunken head treasure. Upset Joanna, heads back to the house and barely speaks to Christopher.
When Joanna goes to her bedroom,Christopher breaks down her door and grabs her and ruffs her up. Christopher confesses that he cannot accept another man's "leavings," and is going to send her back to New Orleans on the next boat.
Later, the commissioner returns to the plantation with another American planter, who has accused Christopher of stealing two of his workers. To keep the abusive Gruber from taking his men back, Christopher accuses them of murder, and the commissioner goes along until Gruber leaves, empty-handed.
That night, while the commissioner is having dinner with the Leiningens, he is saddened to learn that things did not work out and Joanna is planning on leaving. The commissioner shares his concerns with Christopher as to why the birds and monkeys have been fleeing the jungle. The commissioner shares his suspicion that the source of the problem is "Marabunta,". Christopher says he will join him to the Rio Negro and then tells Joanna that she is leaving with them in the morning and will be catching the mail boat upriver. Will Joanna join the fight to save the plantation and will Christopher change his mind about sending her away?
The Naked Jungle is one of my favorite films! I really can't imagine anyone else in Charlton Heston and Eleanor Parker roles. I read where 23 year old Charlton Heston, improvised the argument scene when he splash perfume all over Parker. Which helped her act surprised .
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Elephant Walk (1954) Adventure/romance/drama. Director: William Dieterle, Cast: Elizabeth Taylor, Dana Andrews, Peter Finch and Abraham Sofaer. based on the novel "Elephant Walk" by Robert Standish(1898-1981).
An England, book shop clerk Ruth, is looking forward to her upcoming marriage to John Wiley, the owner of a Ceylon tea plantation. When Ruth arrives at Elephant Walk, Ruth is thrilled that John's "bungalow" is really a mansion. Troubling her, is the fact that John's father built the mansion across the path of the elephants on their way to water. Ruth is surprised to learn John's father is buried in a marble grave behind the house. Soon John's friends and his overseer, Dick Carver, drop by the house to meet Ruth. Dick, who is leaving for Paris the next day, tells Ruth not to take Tom legacy too seriously. Later that night, Ruth is awakened by the sound of John and his friends playing polo on bicycles across the mansion's wood floors.
When Ruth tells John she was frightened by the noise, he calls her childish. Ruth runs crying back to her bedroom, John follows and apologizes.
The next day, Ruth tours the enormous kitchen with Appuhamy. He shows Ruth the items that were the favorites of "the old master".
Since games absorb much of John's time, his friend Dick and Ruth soon become involved. Now wanting to leave the a house, Ruth asks Dick to take her to Paris. But an epidemic of cholera suddenly breaks out, and everyone on the plantation is put under quarantine.
Will John come out from under his fathers spell in time to save his marriage and his tea plantation?
This film is a great Elizabeth Taylor flick. She is absolutely gorgeous and makes the right decision in the end.
Vivien Leigh was originally cast. Illness began affecting filming, so she was replaced by Elizabeth Taylor. Many long shots and shots from behind are still of Leigh.