Snows of Kilimanjaro

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

4.0 1
Director: Henry King

Cast: Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner


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The Snows Of Kilimanjaro is one of those odd major studio titles that few of us have ever seen properly, mostly because its original copyright was allowed to lapse in 1970 -- at the outset of the 1980's, the movie started turning up in ever-more-degraded "public domain" editions on public television and UHF stations, and later on low-level cable channels. It


The Snows Of Kilimanjaro is one of those odd major studio titles that few of us have ever seen properly, mostly because its original copyright was allowed to lapse in 1970 -- at the outset of the 1980's, the movie started turning up in ever-more-degraded "public domain" editions on public television and UHF stations, and later on low-level cable channels. It receded somewhat as the owners asserted the underlying copyright protection from the original Ernest Hemingway story, but it's been decades since the movie has been seen in anything resembling a decent looking image; the movie never even made it to VHS or laserdisc from Fox. The studio has nade up for it with this DVD, which restores all of the luster of the 1952 original. The movie's stunning color cinematography by Leon Shamroy can now be fully appreciated in all of its depth and richness in the full-screen (1.33-to-1) image, with no loss of detail, and Bernard Herrmann's score -- one of his most free-ranging efforts -- can now be heard properly, in all of its subtlety. The 117 minute movie has been given a generous 24 chapters, and the movie is also accompanied by a documentary, The Snows Of Zanuck: The Making of Kilimanjaro, which is an account of Zanuck's life and his relationship to the work of Hemingway. It turns out that Hemingway and Zanuck had been friends, with The Snows Of Kilimanjaro as the breaking point of their relationship. Zanuck had purchased the rights to the 29-page story, regarded by many as the best work of the author, and then needed to expand that to fill a two-hour screenplay -- to do this, screenwriter Casey Robinson drew from almost everything that Hemingway ever wrote, which the author resented, both in terms of exceeding any rights that he'd sold to Zanuck and what it did to his story, along with the altered ending. It's surprising that nowhere in the documentary does anyone go into The Macomber Affair, an earlier Fox adaptation of a Hemingway story starring Gregory Peck, but otherwise the featurette covers a great deal of territory in just 13 minutes of screen time. There are also two audio supplements, A Conversation With Henry King and A Conversation With Casey Robinson. King makes for a fascinating interview, and one only wishes that it had been captured visually as well, so long and rich was his history in Hollywood -- as it is, the two interviews slot in together perfectly, because King spends so much time praising Robinson as a writer. One only wishes that there were a picture of Robinson so go with his interview, but he is a brilliant interview, with a sharp memory and a long, detailed involvement with the story from prior to its even being in pre-production. There is also an original trailer, for those curious about the way the movie was marketed at the time of its release, when it became the fourth biggest box-office movie of the year. The disc opens automatically to a two-layer menu that's simple to use and offers easy access to all of these special features, as well as a showcase for the restoration effort undertaken on this movie and the others in the studio's Ernest Hemingway Collection package.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A tremendous hit when first released, The Snows of Kilimanjaro has not aged well over the years. Almost any screen adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway tale is faced with a difficulty: Hemingway's strong suit is his style, which is heightened and artificial. It works beautifully on the page, but translated into actual dialogue, it comes across as both flighty and stiff, and quite unnatural. Casey Robinson's screenplay does a decent job of bringing things halfway back to earth, but it ends up in a bit of a no-man's land, not really Hemingway, but not quite the real world either. Visually, however, Kilimanjaro is a feast, with Leon Shamroy's camera capturing the full beauty of its often-stunning locations and also finding emotion -- warmth, joy, and tension -- in the "character" scenes. The art direction is lovely, and the trio of stars is very, very easy on the eyes, especially the delectable Ava Gardner. Gardner and Gregory Peck create the appropriate romantic chemistry, and audiences will be drawn in by their performances, but Susan Hayward is unfortunately wasted in a role that gives her too little to do. Despite the flaws in its screenplay (and in Henry King's direction, which is uneven), there's still enough here to engage most fans of romance movies.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Commentary by film historians Patricia King Hanson & Frank Thompson; A conversation with director Henry King; A conversation with writer Casey Robinson; The Snow Zanuck: The Making of Kilimanjaro; Restoration comparison; Trailer; Still gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gregory Peck Harry Street
Susan Hayward Helen
Ava Gardner Cynthia Green
Hildegarde Neff Countess Liz
Leo G. Carroll Uncle Bill
Torin Thatcher Johnson
Ava Norring Beatrice
Helene Stanley Connie
Marcel Dalio Emile
Vincente Gómez Guitarist
Leonard Carey Dr. Simmons
Paul Thompson Witch Doctor
Emmett E. Smith Molo
Victor Wood Charles
Bert Freed American Soldier
Janine Grandel Annette
John Dodsworth Compton
Charley Bates Harry at Age 17
Lisa Ferraday Vendeuse
Maya Van Horn Princess
Ivan Lebedeff Marquis
Salvador Baguez Actor
Edward Colmans Clerk
George Davis Servant
Martin Garralaga Spanish Officer
George Navarro Stretcher Bearer
Julian Rivero Old Waiter
Richard Arlen Spanish Dancer

Technical Credits
Henry King Director
John De Cuir Production Designer
Paul S. Fox Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer
Ray Kellogg Special Effects
Charles LeMaire Costumes/Costume Designer
Thomas K. Little Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Barbara McLean Editor
Alfred Newman Score Composer
Ben Nye Makeup
Casey Robinson Screenwriter
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
Antonio Triana Choreography
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Snows of Kilimanjaro
1. Main Titles/Dying of Failure [5:23]
2. Hippo Adventure [:45]
3. Lonely Safari [5:30]
4. Cynthia [:38]
5. Harry's Lady [4:49]
6. Life in Paris [1:37]
7. Rhino Hunt [4:37]
8. Safe and Secure [2:24]
9. Lots of Time [3:08]
10. Miscarriage [3:08]
11. Spain [1:20]
12. No-Return Policy [7:28]
13. Countess Elizabeth [4:57]
14. Having it All [1:05]
15. The Letter [:59]
16. Harry's Holy Grail [5:19]
17. A Successful Failure [1:54]
18. The Riddle [3:58]
19. Cynthia Look-Alike [7:06]
20. Snows of Kilimanjaro [:43]
21. Witch Doctor [1:42]
22. Extreme Measures [3:32]
23. The Smell of Blood [1:38]
24. Reconciliation [4:58]


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The Snows of Kilimanjaro 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago