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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Green Mansions (1959)

The 1904 W.H. Hudson novel GREEN MANSIONS has too flimsy a narrative to make a successful film. A young man (Anthony Perkins) on the run travels into the jungles of Venezuela to look for gold. There, he encounters an Indian tribe who takes him in and a forbidden forest where a strange girl (Audrey Hepburn) lives with her grandfather (Lee J. Cobb). The character of Rima is ethereal and on paper might seem ideal for Hepburn but she’s too elegant, too chic to play the native jungle girl. The film is tedious with long stretches of Hepburn and Perkins frolicking in the jungle but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Visually, it’s quite an eyeful with Joseph Ruttenberg’s wide screen cinematography of cascading waterfalls and lush jungle foliage. Though some of the film was shot in Venezuela and Colombia, it’s clear most of the jungle scenes are actually on a soundstage. Directed by Mel Ferrer (Hepburn’s husband at the time). The score is by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Bronislau Kaper. With Sessue Hayakawa, Nehemiah Persoff and Henry Silva.

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