Monday, July 14, 2014

Jungle Fever

Green Mansions (1959) - Ferrer
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I was browsing Tony Perkins's filmography on imdb and boy, he was such a dashing ladies' man. Too bad Psycho became such a career defining film for him. Green Mansions is a ridiculous adventure story in Amazon jungle shot in cinemascope. It stars Perkins as a privileged white boy, Abel, in Caracas who became a victim of a revolution there. He flees to the jungle and mingles in with a tribe of natives (chief and his son played by Sessue Hayakawa and always dependable ethnic man, Henry Silva) by proving his bravery (standing in one place and talking until collapsing)? He needs to find gold there, to take revenge on those revolutionaries who wronged his family or something. There is a forest nearby that is forbidden to enter by the tribesmen because there is a forest witch who lives there. She killed the chief's first son when he went in to the forest to hunt. The witch turns out to be animal loving Rima (Audrey Hepburn, playing the perfect, but sexless nymphet). For Abel, it's a love at first sight. He wants to get her out of the jungle. Rima's guardian/grandpa (Lee J Cobb) holds a dark secret and the bloodthirsty tribesmen in pursuit, and the jungle itself as adversary, the two lovebirds must make it or break it!

Sets and locations are pretty impressive. The credits indicate that they shot part of the film in Colombia, Venezuela and Guiana and it was one of the first cinemascope films. It also has wealth of set painting and campy effects. But I have to say it's pretty great.

Tony Perkins sings:

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