Opening

96% Guardians of the Galaxy Aug 01
—— Get On Up Aug 01
93% Calvary Aug 01
—— Behaving Badly Aug 01
50% Child Of God Aug 01

Top Box Office

58% Lucy $44.0M
61% Hercules $29.0M
91% Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes $16.4M
57% The Purge: Anarchy $9.9M
43% Planes: Fire And Rescue $9.3M
18% Sex Tape $6.0M
17% Transformers: Age of Extinction $4.6M
16% And So It Goes $4.6M
23% Tammy $3.4M
90% A Most Wanted Man $2.7M

Coming Soon

—— Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Aug 08
—— Step Up: All In Aug 08
—— Into The Storm Aug 08
86% What If Aug 08
—— The Hundred-foot Journey Aug 08

New Episodes Tonight

—— The Fosters: Season 2
—— Hit the Floor: Season 2
—— Longmire: Season 3
—— Major Crimes: Season 3
73% Murder in the First: Season 1
—— Switched at Birth: Season 3
67% Teen Wolf: Season 4
62% Under the Dome: Season 2

Discuss Last Night's Shows

—— Agatha Christie's Poirot : Season 12
100% Falling Skies: Season 4
79% Halt and Catch Fire: Season 1
64% The Last Ship: Season 1
100% Last Tango in Halifax: Season 2
69% The Leftovers: Season 1
60% The Lottery: Season 1
88% Manhattan: Season 1
100% Masters of Sex: Season 2
50% The Musketeers: Season 1
78% Ray Donovan: Season 2
46% Reckless: Season 1
87% The Strain: Season 1
50% True Blood: Season 7
—— Unforgettable: Season 2
80% Vicious: Season 1
—— Witches of East End: Season 2

Certified Fresh TV

85% The Bridge (FX): Season 2
83% Extant: Season 1
79% Halt and Catch Fire: Season 1
100% Masters of Sex: Season 2
73% Murder in the First: Season 1
97% Orange is the New Black: Season 2
97% Orphan Black: Season 2
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
87% The Strain: Season 1
85% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
77% You're the Worst: Season 1

The Snows of Kilimanjaro Reviews

Page 1 of 3
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

March 6, 2010
People who've been reviewing films for a while will almost inevitably be criticised for being 'down' on a certain genre. Many famous critics have got where they are for being snooty about action films, or erotic thrillers, or romantic comedies. I have no problem with any of these: an evening of Die Hard, Basic Instinct and Four Weddings and a Funeral would do me just fine. What I do have a problem with is films which are considered classics simply by virtue of being old. The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a classic case in point.

Like many old romance films, The Snows of Kilimanjaro is essentially a leading actor's romp; where Gone with the Wind had Clark Gable, we get Gregory Peck. The film is based on the autobiography of Ernest Hemingway, with Peck clearly standing in for the author and therefore getting all the best lines. The film retains all the rich and playful darkness of Hemingway's language, and the romantic tension between Peck and Susan Hayward is initially very well-played against the epic setting. The nature footage of the wilds of Kenya looks pretty good, although it does seem lifted straight from documentaries, and the scenes of Harry and his wife on the boat are creakily staged, even for the period.

The film is at heart about how one's first love, or at least the feeling of it, lingers and haunts us throughout one's life. There are a couple of scenes of Harry Street chasing after women whom he mistakes for 'Cyn', and towards the end his wife remarks that he married her solely because she resembled her so closely. Street battles through his fevered delirium and somehow comes to terms with his failed relationship -- the vultures' departure at the end of the film signifies that he has made peace with his past and can now live with and love his wife.

This is a heart-warming thought, but it gets lost or neglected within the various distractions of the film. If director Henry King had been more adventurous with the material, this could have been a very interesting thriller about a man searching for his first love. The theme of coming to terms with lost love, even at the cost of one's own life, has been widely explored, whether in contemporaries like Citizen Kane and Casablanca or subsequent efforts like Don't Look Now and in a twisted way Fatal Attraction. Instead we have a film which stays faithful to Hemingway's language and life, without really knowing what to do with it.

The great thing about Hemingway was that he was able to take something very small, like a fishing trip, and through rich and lengthy description turn it into a life-changing event. The Old Man and the Sea works not because it's a ground-breaking plot, but because his flair with language gives the story na unimagined level of metaphoric depth. The central problem with The Snows of Kilimanjaro is that it takes this approach rather too literally, spinning out into two hours what would have worked perfectly well as a 40-minute short. The opening three-quarters of an hour, right up to when Cynthia Green leaves Harry, are well-done, but after that the film becomes really tiresome.

Apart from the baggy storytelling, our patience is further tried by the film's reliance on melodrama for emotional effect. There's nothing inherently wrong with melodrama, but like all things in cinema it's only a good thing when used properly. By and large we can deal with the bigger emotions of the leading women, including the bizarre moment of Street's second wife Liz shouting "Horses!" at him as walks out on her. The bigger problem is the score, which is over-the-top and out of place. Every single romantic scene between Peck and Ava Gardner is squandered by musical cues which overpower any subtlety of face, and the scene towards the end where the hyena enters the tent is completely blown out of all proportion. It has the same problem as Gone with the Wind, in that it tries to make up for the actors' understatement by turning up the volume; in doing so it constantly overcompensates and the film becomes ridiculous.

Despite winning an Academy Award for its cinematography, the film is not well shot. Even considering the technological limits of the period, there are many scenes in which the colours blur and run into each other. Many scenes are too darkly lit and the screen is often cloudy as well as grainy (though this may vary according to individual prints). There are also irritating 'pops' on the soundtrack, which begin after an hour and a quarter and persist until the end of the film. Again, this may be a problem with the surviving print rather than the master, but it is a huge distraction nonetheless.

Because of its multiple handicaps of silly music, bad cinematography and irritating sound, many of the film's genuine attempts at drama are hopelessly undercut. The battle scenes during the Spanish Civil War look staged, with no attempt made to explore the chaos or mechanics of war; the film doesn't even tell us which side Street is one. This means that his brief reunion with Cyn on the battlefield feels hopelessly contrived. Indeed any attempt to suggest that this is his moment of honesty, with the only woman he really loves, is spoiled by the fact that he openly lies to her about reading her letter (which was destroyed by Liz).

These annoying elements constantly undercut or overcook the drama, so that by the time we get to the good stuff, the stuff that actually makes sense and is relevant, we're almost too fed up to care. Peck is in decent form, but he is nowhere near as good as in To Kill A Mockingbird, or his scenery-chewing turn in The Boys from Brazil. His character steadily becomes more unlikeable as the film unfolds, seeming less a doomed romantic and more a serial playboy. Street has an ungrateful streak which makes it difficult to empathise with him beyond a certain point. Take his curt remark as he is stretchered into the tent: "a man can't live as he pleases -- he can't even die as he pleases". That may well be true, but it's delivered in such a stuck-up way that we start to give up on him.

On top of all this, the film is decidedly sexist (or perhaps 'old-fashioned') in its attitude towards women. Admittedly there's nothing that could constitute rampant misogyny, but there are a number of lines that will stick in the craw of many modern viewers. Take the encounter between Liz and Harry's uncle. She is sculpting an interesting work of art, and the uncle remarks that Harry must be in the study, "doing something constructive." The theme of hunting comes up time and again throughout the film, as if women are little more than game, to be chased and hunted down. Hitchcock may have treated his actors like cattle, but he never went that far.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro is old-fashioned escapist tosh of the highest order. Like so many films from the 1950s and 1960s, it has not dated at all well; it certainly doesn't hold up to King's later and better works, like Carousel. The performances are decent, but the film is not put together in a way which befits the material, and in the end the entire project overstays its welcome. It's technically inept, the music is overcooked, and all the interesting ideas within the story are fatally compromised through contrived dramatic devices. As escapist talky rubbish, it does its job, but anyone looking for an insightful romantic drama should probably look elsewhere.
Kelly A.
April 3, 2014
Can't believe the studio mutilated Hemingway's masterpiece in this way. Pasted a happy ending on and omitted the true ending. Zanuck was an idiot. Disgusting.
December 26, 2013
Peck and Gardner give their all and are believable but lots of overacting and dated conversations, but the story does come through. Very watchable.
June 24, 2012
the dialogue in "the snows of kilimanjaro" is so witty and quick, it's easy to miss some brilliant lines, but if you're paying attention, you're sure to have a good time watching, if for no other reason than the dialogue.
June 22, 2012
Movie kept getting better as character played by Gregory Peck is developed. Ava Gardner and Peck are amazing together. John Hamm reminds me of Peck.
October 19, 2011
i quit at about 38minutes... the chop style scene shifts, blatant studio sets vs. outdoor footage, and sitcom dialogue were worse enough to ruin any suspension of disbelief.. but then started the neanderthal philosophy of gender relations, and the lady's descriptions of her emotions during the paris romance, which was totally not what was happening during those scenes. what a load
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

March 6, 2010
People who've been reviewing films for a while will almost inevitably be criticised for being 'down' on a certain genre. Many famous critics have got where they are for being snooty about action films, or erotic thrillers, or romantic comedies. I have no problem with any of these: an evening of Die Hard, Basic Instinct and Four Weddings and a Funeral would do me just fine. What I do have a problem with is films which are considered classics simply by virtue of being old. The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a classic case in point.

Like many old romance films, The Snows of Kilimanjaro is essentially a leading actor's romp; where Gone with the Wind had Clark Gable, we get Gregory Peck. The film is based on the autobiography of Ernest Hemingway, with Peck clearly standing in for the author and therefore getting all the best lines. The film retains all the rich and playful darkness of Hemingway's language, and the romantic tension between Peck and Susan Hayward is initially very well-played against the epic setting. The nature footage of the wilds of Kenya looks pretty good, although it does seem lifted straight from documentaries, and the scenes of Harry and his wife on the boat are creakily staged, even for the period.

The film is at heart about how one's first love, or at least the feeling of it, lingers and haunts us throughout one's life. There are a couple of scenes of Harry Street chasing after women whom he mistakes for 'Cyn', and towards the end his wife remarks that he married her solely because she resembled her so closely. Street battles through his fevered delirium and somehow comes to terms with his failed relationship -- the vultures' departure at the end of the film signifies that he has made peace with his past and can now live with and love his wife.

This is a heart-warming thought, but it gets lost or neglected within the various distractions of the film. If director Henry King had been more adventurous with the material, this could have been a very interesting thriller about a man searching for his first love. The theme of coming to terms with lost love, even at the cost of one's own life, has been widely explored, whether in contemporaries like Citizen Kane and Casablanca or subsequent efforts like Don't Look Now and in a twisted way Fatal Attraction. Instead we have a film which stays faithful to Hemingway's language and life, without really knowing what to do with it.

The great thing about Hemingway was that he was able to take something very small, like a fishing trip, and through rich and lengthy description turn it into a life-changing event. The Old Man and the Sea works not because it's a ground-breaking plot, but because his flair with language gives the story na unimagined level of metaphoric depth. The central problem with The Snows of Kilimanjaro is that it takes this approach rather too literally, spinning out into two hours what would have worked perfectly well as a 40-minute short. The opening three-quarters of an hour, right up to when Cynthia Green leaves Harry, are well-done, but after that the film becomes really tiresome.

Apart from the baggy storytelling, our patience is further tried by the film's reliance on melodrama for emotional effect. There's nothing inherently wrong with melodrama, but like all things in cinema it's only a good thing when used properly. By and large we can deal with the bigger emotions of the leading women, including the bizarre moment of Street's second wife Liz shouting "Horses!" at him as walks out on her. The bigger problem is the score, which is over-the-top and out of place. Every single romantic scene between Peck and Ava Gardner is squandered by musical cues which overpower any subtlety of face, and the scene towards the end where the hyena enters the tent is completely blown out of all proportion. It has the same problem as Gone with the Wind, in that it tries to make up for the actors' understatement by turning up the volume; in doing so it constantly overcompensates and the film becomes ridiculous.

Despite winning an Academy Award for its cinematography, the film is not well shot. Even considering the technological limits of the period, there are many scenes in which the colours blur and run into each other. Many scenes are too darkly lit and the screen is often cloudy as well as grainy (though this may vary according to individual prints). There are also irritating 'pops' on the soundtrack, which begin after an hour and a quarter and persist until the end of the film. Again, this may be a problem with the surviving print rather than the master, but it is a huge distraction nonetheless.

Because of its multiple handicaps of silly music, bad cinematography and irritating sound, many of the film's genuine attempts at drama are hopelessly undercut. The battle scenes during the Spanish Civil War look staged, with no attempt made to explore the chaos or mechanics of war; the film doesn't even tell us which side Street is one. This means that his brief reunion with Cyn on the battlefield feels hopelessly contrived. Indeed any attempt to suggest that this is his moment of honesty, with the only woman he really loves, is spoiled by the fact that he openly lies to her about reading her letter (which was destroyed by Liz).

These annoying elements constantly undercut or overcook the drama, so that by the time we get to the good stuff, the stuff that actually makes sense and is relevant, we're almost too fed up to care. Peck is in decent form, but he is nowhere near as good as in To Kill A Mockingbird, or his scenery-chewing turn in The Boys from Brazil. His character steadily becomes more unlikeable as the film unfolds, seeming less a doomed romantic and more a serial playboy. Street has an ungrateful streak which makes it difficult to empathise with him beyond a certain point. Take his curt remark as he is stretchered into the tent: "a man can't live as he pleases -- he can't even die as he pleases". That may well be true, but it's delivered in such a stuck-up way that we start to give up on him.

On top of all this, the film is decidedly sexist (or perhaps 'old-fashioned') in its attitude towards women. Admittedly there's nothing that could constitute rampant misogyny, but there are a number of lines that will stick in the craw of many modern viewers. Take the encounter between Liz and Harry's uncle. She is sculpting an interesting work of art, and the uncle remarks that Harry must be in the study, "doing something constructive." The theme of hunting comes up time and again throughout the film, as if women are little more than game, to be chased and hunted down. Hitchcock may have treated his actors like cattle, but he never went that far.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro is old-fashioned escapist tosh of the highest order. Like so many films from the 1950s and 1960s, it has not dated at all well; it certainly doesn't hold up to King's later and better works, like Carousel. The performances are decent, but the film is not put together in a way which befits the material, and in the end the entire project overstays its welcome. It's technically inept, the music is overcooked, and all the interesting ideas within the story are fatally compromised through contrived dramatic devices. As escapist talky rubbish, it does its job, but anyone looking for an insightful romantic drama should probably look elsewhere.
starlett2005
September 19, 2009
The Snows of Kilimanjaro is amazing. It is the story of a man's life: looking back on lost opportunities, failed loves, and as it's so beautifully described in the script "losing the scent" in your life's direction. Ava Gardner is mesmerizing and Susan Hayward is dynamic. Gregory Peck is also amazing. Bernard Herrman score hits the mark again. And the set decoration and cinematography are superlative examples of the studio system at its most artistic.
jazza923
October 3, 2005
WELL PRODUCED WITH SOME OUTSTANDING AFRICAN SCENERY. MELODRAMATIC THOUGH, GOOD CAST WITH A FINE GREGORY PECK PERFORMANCE. SO SO WRITING. NOT BAD.
ReggieRamirez
March 10, 2005
and a splendid little documentary called [b]Lift[/b].
-------------------------------------------
Well let's start with [b]Double Life[/b] then.

First of all there's the torching orange-yellow color. A really powerful and capturing device, but also suffocating in the sense that it limits the expression and perception quite strongly. That combined with the camera that always seems to be one step too close, and the corners too dark, to get a clear general view. And the couple of scenes where they used like a twisting lense or something. And then there's the music, the song, which controls a lot of the atmosphere.

That's all I've got so far. My reviews evolve in time. This one is just a baby.

I think it needs a sister, so I'll start with [b]Rebecca[/b] too.

The interesting thing in Rebecca, is that it's well over the half-way mark before the Hitchcock-factor actually kicks in, and the film comes to life. Before that it's just a long tedious build-up, b-class melodrama. A lot of it has to do with the characters, who(at least in the first half) are incredibly, incredibly flawed and unappealing. Mr. de Winter is an asshole, a control freak who seems to have mental issues that are completely out of proportion. The girl on the other hand is a wimpish thing, unbearably insecure and frightened, and with no mental qualities or interesting characteristics to speak of. The only thing she seems to be capable of is being 'in love'. A kind of a hollywood cliche, usually backed up by circumstances where no other personal qualities are required, but here intentionally placed in an unfitting environment. Their relationship, and especially the building of that relationship, isn't given much focus. Which really causes the film to lack in the quality melodrama department. Actually now that I think about it, what it could use is some good humoristic dialogue, to add some depth. Maybe if Billy Wilder had written the first part...oh well, just speculating. So anyhow, the cheap shots keep flowing in, expected and obvious, as we watch the girl fall deeper and deeper in uncomfort. So much even that by the time of the incident with the dress, you find yourself wondering if maybe what you're actually watching is a Lars Von Trier film. But eventually salvation does come. The relieve and satisfaction you feel when the plot finally takes a turn, is substantial. And I have to mention here the great scene where the camera follows Rebecca, who is not there, rise from the bed and walk across the room according to Mr. de Winter's description. That's classic Hitchcock. Anyway, the rest of the film flows through really well, as our perception of de Winter has completely changed, and the girl's role in the film has significantly reduced in favor of other things. One last complaint I have to make: the character of Mrs. Danvers lacks all dimension and believability. It's usually not good film-making to have a character who's only function is to be crazy and unpleasant. Visually the film is gorgeous all the way through.
---------------------------------------------
Also, I have to put it here so I don't forget, another interesting film I watched last night is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari(1920).
---------------------------------------------
You could say I have no business saying anything about [b]I Am Dina [/b]since I only watched the first thirty minutes of it. But then again that was all I could bear, and I shouldn't be discriminated for being weak in that way. Anyway, what I saw of the film was outrageously crappy. Crappy in every conceivable sense of the word. And that's all the thought I want to give to it.

Lo and behold, for another thought has risen in my tiny head about [b]Double Life of Veronique[/b]. Goes like this: Sometimes the film-maker seemed a little puzzled of what to do with all the time in his hands. It's not like there was many plot shifts to make or anything. Also, the intimate scenes didn't feel at all intimate, because the people were strangers to me. And altogether the main characters remained quite distant and un-life-like.

I'm not what you would very easily call a larger-than-life fan of the western. Is that good or bad? I don't know. Nobody knows. It's a mystery. But I definitely enjoyed with lovingly feelings John Ford's [b]She Wore A Yellow Ribbon[/b]. Even the title tune was catchy. I can hear it right now swinging in my head, almost makes me ask out of common curiosity how to make it stop, but I'd rather not risk it while it's still benign. Seasonal extra points I want to give this film for the best supporting performance I've seen all year, to the old indian guy in the one scene. His work was so fresh and out-of-the-norm that it was downright groundbreaking.
deane28
December 16, 2004
OK, no technically this isn't a foreign film even though it is shot entirely in Africa, Paris and London I believe. I just put in that category because it wasn't shot in America.

Needless to say, this is a seemingly long film. 117 minutes. It doesn't sound long but the trek you take in this epic is so turbulent and winding and exhausting man, it seems like four hours.

All I have to say is it stars Gregory Peck and if you know anything, you should know that Gregory Peck can act.
Page 1 of 3
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile