Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ava Gardner in The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952): "I'm only trying to be happy."

Twenty-one years ago today, Ava Gardner, one of cinema's better reasons for existence, passed away in her home in London, a lifetime away from her Grabtown, North Carolina roots in the dark loam of the South. What her acting style lacked in elaborate technique, her vibrant presence and the remarkable spell she could cast more than made up for in 62 films, some good, many poor, and some exceptional, including the recently restored Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), which is available from Kino International. She might have scoffed, but I suspect that this languid passage from an earnest if earthbound adaptation of Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952-Henry King) may have expressed something of her "philosophy." That's Benny Carter on the alto sax complementing Ms. Gardner very aptly as she and Gregory Peck discuss "piety." 

The film, which is in the public domain, can be seen here online at the Internet Archive. The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) is also scheduled to be broadcast on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 9:30PM ET.


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