The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro Poster

Writer Harry Street reflects on his life as he lies dying from an infection while on safari in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is a 1952 drama and love movie, based upon the short story of the same title written by Ernest Hemingway. Directed by Henry King and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, the film mostly stars Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, and Ava Gardner. The story revolves around the life memory of a cynical writer named Harry Street who, while on an African safari, suffers a thorn prick injury that ends up being infected.

Plot and Setting
The film starts off with Harry Street (Gregory Peck), a distinguished author, resting in a hunting camp underneath Mount Kilimanjaro, battling with a serious infection caused by a thorn prick. The infection sets off a fever that induces a series of brilliant memories and dreams about his tumultuous past and the choices he regrets. Through these memories unfolding as flashbacks, the audiences gain insight into Harry's life. The movie is embeded in different areas consisting of the Parisian Jazz-age, the Spanish Civil War, the African Wilderness, and the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Characters and Developments
The viewing of his previous draws the character comparison of his present other half Helen (Susan Hayward), an abundant divorcee who enjoys Harry very much, and his bohemian ex-lover, Cynthia Green (Ava Gardner), who was with him through his struggling days in Paris. A huge part of the flashbacks tackle his enthusiastic yet rough relationship with Cynthia, whom Harry believes he lost due to his compulsive devotion to his work and pursuit of success.

The central theme of "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" checks out the intricate nature of individual success, love, loss, remorse and the catastrophic effect it can have on life and relationships. It showcases the struggle in between desire for artistic success and the aspiration for pure love and companionship. Harry's guilt of losing Cynthia due to his profession aspirations and his seeming frustration with Helen, despite her affection and wealth, produces a dynamic and psychological story.

The climax of the movie unfolds with Harry's fever gradually intensifying, leading him to hallucinate a rescue airplane choosing him up and flying him to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Nevertheless, it was simply a dream and he caught his disease. Remarkably, the ending in the movie deviates from Hemingway's original story where his character lay passing away but did not pass away.

Critical Reception
"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" was praised for its interesting storytelling and magnificent performances, particularly Gregory Peck's portrayal of Harry. The brilliant cinematography catching various areas appropriately depicted Harry's past, adding depth to the storytelling. The film, nevertheless, faced criticisms due to its discrepancy from Hemingway's initial short story and its sentiment-intensive story. Despite those criticisms, the film remains unforgettable for its expedition of complicated human feelings, dreams, and regrets.

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