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The Roots Of Heaven 1958

NR CC
3.8 out of 5 stars (21) IMDb 6.6/10

In Fort Lamy, French Equitorial Africa, idealist Morel launches a one-man campaign to preserve the African elephant from extinction, which he sees as the last remaining "roots of Heaven."

Starring:
Errol Flynn, Juliette Gréco
Runtime:
2 hours, 6 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Adventure
Director John Huston
Starring Errol Flynn, Juliette Gréco
Supporting actors Trevor Howard, Eddie Albert, Orson Welles, Paul Lukas, Herbert Lom, Grégoire Aslan, André Luguet, Friedrich von Ledebur, Edric Connor, Olivier Hussenot, Pierre Dudan, Marc Doelnitz, Francis De Wolff, Dan Jackson, Maurice de Canonge, Jacques Marin, Habib Benglia, Bachir Touré
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on March 17, 2010
Format: DVD
The Roots of Heaven is an incredible film. Directed by John Huston and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, it stars Errol Flynn, Trevor Howard, and Juliette Greco with supporting roles played by Eddie Albert, Paul Lukas, Herbert Lom, and Orson Welles.

Although Flynn gets top billing, Trevor Howard is the leading character. Howard was a last minute replacement for William Holden, but Zanuck didn't think Howard had enough appeal to be the star, so Flynn got the spot.

It is Flynn's last film (apart from the Cuban thing) and one of his very best. The film was released in October 1958 and Flynn died in October 1959. He plays a disgraced British officer in search of redemption, a role he had perfected previously in "The Sun Also Rises" (1957) and "Too Much Too Soon" (1958).

Flynn is one of a motley group of environmentalists who join Trevor Howard is his attempt to save the elephants in French equatorial Africa. Howard was a great actor, nominated for an Oscar ("Sons and Lovers" in 1960) and 3 Emmy's (1963, 1966, and 1975) and he won the Emmy for "Incredible Mr. Disraeli" (1963). He also had 3 nominations for a Golden Globe, starting in 1961 ("Sons and Lovers") and ending in 1987 ("Christmas Eve"). Howard appeared in nearly 100 films, including "The Third Man" (1949), "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962), "Von Ryan's Express" (1965), "Ryan's Daughter" (1970), "Superman" (1978), and "Shaka Zulu" (1987).

Eddie Albert provides comic relief as a newspaper reporter who joins the crusade.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
It seems that most people don't know what makes a great film--John Huston did. If you know where to look you can find it in this one. Great story, perfect score, fantastic cinematography, elephants, Orson Welles, elephants, Trevor Howard and Errol Flynn. Great film. Elephants. The Twilight Time blu-ray looks and sounds terrific. Shot on location in Chad, the scenery is incredible....you can feel the heat and taste the dust....this is a truly wonderful film which most people today (unfortunately) could never enjoy. Errol Flynn makes every scene his, while Orson Welles does what he does best. This one needs to be remembered....
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Format: Blu-ray
The Roots of Heaven is generally regarded as minor John Huston and remembered, if at all, for the tales of its nightmarish production as the cast and crew dropped like flies (sometimes mid-take) in the 130degree heat in French Equatorial Africa, while the director got into a brief punch-up with Errol Flynn (Huston won by a knockout) before showing his dedication to the material by going off and hunting some big game. Which is ironic because the subject matter is the very antithesis of the White Hunter, Black Heart image of Huston, a big-budget shot on location CinemaScope adaptation of Romain Gary's novel about an animal rights campaigner (Trevor Howard) obsessed with saving the African elephant who gives up on trying to change things legally and takes direct action a bit far when he starts hunting the hunters. Although he never actually kills, along the way he becomes a folk hero and worldwide media celebrity, attracting a ragtag band of followers with various motives: Juliette Greco's whore, top-billed but not-in-it-that-much Errol Flynn's drunken and disgraced British officer, Friedrich von Ledebur's disillusioned nuclear scientist, Eddie Albert's cynical photojournalist and Edric Connor's African nationalist who's hoping to exploit his reputation to get some publicity for his own cause by tagging along.

It's certainly a film that was ahead of its time in 1958 and would probably fare better at the box-office today, and be slightly improved in the process.
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Format: DVD
This DVD is highly recommended, since the film has yet to make it's appearance in the US in any format. The print is an excellent one: anamorphic CinemaScope ratio with a matrixed 2-track stereo soundtrack that accurately presents the original English-language, 4-channel sound in Dolby Pro-logic. (The Spanish-language audio is monaural only. There are optional Spanish subtitles for the original English version) The music score by Malcolm Arnold was one of the most sought-after soundtrack LPs of it's time, but was only available monaurally, so this presentation of the film is terrific for afficionados. The dvd is handsomely slip-cased with the original poster art (in Spanish).
The film was a slighted, but ambitious, Darryl F. Zanuck film shot on location, and based on an intriguing, conservationist novel by Romain Gary. Always-dependable Trevor Howard gives a noteworth performance here; and Errol Flynn, in dramatic mode, is always a pleasure to watch. Director John Huston at the helm makes this one worth the price of admission.
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