A rich, young beauty, Louise Durant, follows the man she loves and hopes to marry to Zurich where he studies violin at the conservatory. A piano student at the conservatory falls madly in ... See full summary »
In 1796, Captain George Brummell of the 10th Royal Hussars Regiment offends the Prince of Wales with his straightforward outspokenness and gets fired from the army but is chosen as the Prince's personal advisor.
Colonial tea planter John Wiley, visiting England at the end of World War II, wins and weds lovely English rose Ruth and takes her home to Elephant Walk, Ceylon, where the local elephants have a grudge against the plantation. Ruth's delight with the tropical wealth and luxury of her new home is tempered by isolation as the only white woman in the district; by her husband's occasional imperious arrogance; by a mutual physical attraction with plantation manager Dick Carver; and by the hovering, ominous menace of the hostile elephants... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Paramount's last 1.37:1 production. Future films from Paramount would either be shot in 1.37:1 and composed for Widescreen presentation, or shot in Widescreen and composed for Widescreen presentation. See more »
During the first bicycle polo scene, there are four drink glasses on the server's tray when John Wiley takes one, followed by another rider who also grabs a glass, leaving just two on the tray. However the very next pass in which a rider goes for a glass the tray is full. See more »
ELEPHANT WALK may not be the acme of literature or of film, but it is
great entertainment in the quasi-melodramatic mode. It is the story of
love, both genuine and illicit, as well as overweening ambition,
devotion, and the arrogance of personal tyranny. A previous reviewer,
John Mankin, questions why the central focus of the film, the mansion
called Elephant Walk, should have been built by the former owner, the
"governor" the late Tom Wiley, right across the elephants' traditional
path to the major source of water, the river. To miss this point is to
essentially miss the point of the whole center of the film: the hubris
of man. That his son, played by Peter Finch, should become enthralled
by the super image and enigma of his revered father, is not unexpected,
since the son was without a mother growing up in a foreign jungle with
only his father and his father's rowdy 'boys' club' as his role models.
The point of the father was that he was a self-made man who would tame
nature to his liking, and that liking was not just a tea plantation
upon the lands the elephants once dominated, but also that he would
dominate even the large bull elephant that led the herd, and thus he
would dominate his son and all around him, and so we join the tale
after the elephants have been denied the crucial dry season access to
their pathway to water. Who could know that this dry season would last
so long and what the elephants would do in desperation to get water?
This is the nexus of the film: what will animals do to get water; what
will humans do to get power or love? Ceylon, today's Sri Lanka, is the
huge island off the coast of India where the plantation is located and
one quickly learns that it is the real scenery of the story, not just
the expenses of Miss Taylor. Were it not for this exotic location (much
of the film was shot in Ceylon), and the magnificent "bungalow" this
would have been just another potboiler. One must recognize the
atmosphere created here as integral to the time and place, as it
illuminates the latter day wealth and power attained by the English
immigrant 'conquerors' that were part and parcel of the British raj. It
is only such wealth gained by the use of virtual slave labor that one
could build so magnificent a residence of ebony, teak, and marble. Not
to be overlooked are the wonderfully carved Jalees (grille work window
and doorway borders) evidently specified by art directors J. McMillan
Johnson and Hal Pereira and obviously made by the cheaper labor on the
island. Such craftsmanship reveals the careful attention to detail that
these men sought.
For those immune to the blandishments of time, place, and architecture,
there is always the allure of Miss Taylor, as she marries a man she
doesn't really know and is tacitly wooed by a another man, against the
background described, and under the overarching tyranny of the legacy
of a man deceased. As I said, it is not great literature nor even great
film, but it is great spectacle long before that term was debased by
the special effects extravaganzas of today.
This is one of those films made to be seen on the giant screen of an
outdoor drive-in, not on the home TV, so arrange the largest screen to
see it on to fully appreciate its fine camera-work and scope.
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