Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1954. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by John Lee Mahin, based on the novel by Robert Standish. Cinematography by Loyal Griggs. Produced by Irving Asher. Music by Franz Waxman. Production Design by J. McMillan Johnson, Hal Pereira. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by George Tomasini.
Reasonably involving drama about a British shopkeeper (Elizabeth Taylor) who moves to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) when a plantation owner (Peter Finch) visits London and sweeps her off her feet. Upon arriving at her new home in this most exotic land, she is beset by her husband’s leeching friends and a backward attitude towards the locals that she immediately sets out to restore. This kind of character is perfectly suited to Taylor’s no-nonsense style of acting, and she performs immeasurably well; it’s something she did even better in Giant two years later, but you’ll still get a fair share of enjoyment from this film. The climax, involving a violent elephant stampede, is an eye-popper, and the photography is gorgeous. Vivien Leigh was originally cast in the female lead role but had to drop out due to illness, though it is still her that you see in the odd long shot.