The Snows of Kilimanjaro
The Snows of Kilimanjaro was a lavishly produced hit in 1952, starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. Produced by Darryl Zanuck, it strayed immeasurably from Ernest Hemingway’s short story and the famous author was never able to bring himself to watch it during the course of his life. This screenplay is more true to the original story’s vision.
In this version, the protagonist is a writer who has lost touch with his once stellar talent. As he lies wounded on a hunting expedition in Africa he relives his years of adventure, love and warfare. Like so many of Hemingway’s works, very much is autobiographical. The script weaves into the fabric additional material from his real life as well as other texts about his experiences in Africa and the colorful generation of bohemian expatriate artists and writers of 1920’s Paris. In summary, this adaptation has more content from Hemingway’s life and writings than any other movie ever made.
To Have and Have Not
To Have and Have Not was produced by Howard Hawks in 1945 and won an Academy Award for Humphrey Bogart. It also first introduced the world to a nineteen year old Lauren Bacall in her first screen role and ignited one of Hollywood’s most fabled love affairs. Hawks took on the project as a wager with Hemingway that he could produce a hit from his least regarded novel.
The book’s story was originally set in 1937 during the Great Depression. This was altered in the film to 1944 when the depression was over and World War Two was the major social influence on the globe. Very little was left of the original tragedy of a Key West smuggler and a charter boat fisherman.
This version expands the original story much further into the nightlife of Havana, and the roots of organized crime and social unrest in Cuba. Torrid Latin jazz music, lust and memorable characters are vividly painted on the canvas of a larger yet more authentic treatment.
Little John is on its surface a basketball story. A smallish youth on the threshold of maturity begins to grow in more ways than one. He struggles on towards manhood and his first love with a brilliant woman whose flame burns brightly but cannot continue for long. Her life’s mission becomes the awakening of a mighty hero she sees within him.
Around them a cast of characters based on the Robin Hood saga help to move him towards his fate. A great university dynasty is set to collapse and a biological father John has never known is searching for meaning. The destiny of many rests on a spirit that is buried deep inside.