Snows of Kilimanjaro

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The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a 1952 American Technicolor film based on Ernest Hemingway’s 1936 short story of the same name. The film was directed by Henry King, written by Casey Robinson, and starred Gregory Peck as Harry Street, Susan Hayward as Helen, and Ava Gardner as Cynthia Green (a fictional character). The movie’s ending isn’t the same as the story’s.


Snows of Kilimanjaro

Hemingway considered “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” to be one of his finest stories. It was first published in Esquire magazine in 1936 and then republished in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938).

The Snows of Kilimanjaro was a commercial and critical success upon its release, becoming the second highest-grossing film of 1952, behind only The Greatest Show on Earth. At the 25th Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Cinematography, Color, and Best Art Direction, Color (Lyle R. Wheeler, John DeCuir, Thomas Little, Paul S. Fox).

The film has been released into the public domain.

The film Snows of Kilimanjaro begins with Hemingway’s opening line: “Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high and said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called ‘Ngje Ngi,’ meaning ‘House of God.'”. A leopard carcass was found near the summit. It is not known what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”

Harry Street, a disillusioned writer on safari in Africa, relates his memories. A thorn prick has severely infected his wound, and he lies outside his tent waiting for death, though in the Snows of Kilimanjaro film it is revealed that he may have acquired the infection leaping into a muddy river to save one of the safari’s porters from a hippo after he fell. Helen, Harry’s female companion, nurses him and hunts for the larder with him.

Self-reflection is brought about by the loss of mobility. He remembers in a delirious state his previous relationship with Cynthia Green, whom he met in Paris as members of the “Lost Generation.” Upon the sale of his first novel, Harry wishes to go on safari to Africa rather than rent a nicer house. It is there that he has his happiest moments, including bagging a rhino. Cynthia is expecting a baby, but she worries about telling Harry, who is passionate about travel, and his work as a journalist and author. Harry finds out about Cynthia’s pregnancy after she miscarries. When she believes Harry is off for a job as a war correspondent, she eventually leaves Harry for a flamenco dancer after suffering depression and becoming an alcoholic.

Later, Harry becomes engaged to the wealthy and socially connected Countess Elizabeth, whom he meets on the Cote d’Azur; however, he remains loyal to the memory of Cynthia. On the eve of their wedding, a jealous Elizabeth confronts Harry with a letter that Cynthia, who is now in Madrid, sent to Harry. Elizabeth destroys the letter in front of Harry, who has already left for Spain. Since Cynthia cannot be found at the Madrid address on the envelope, he enlists in the Spanish Civil War. Cynthia, an ambulance driver, meets him during a battle. Cynthia is mortally wounded, and Harry is shot and wounded when he deserts the battle to try to bring the dying Cynthia to a doctor.

Harry returns to Paris. While he is standing on the bridge watching the river, he meets Helen, who reminds him of Cynthia. After the death of his beloved mentor Uncle Bill, Harry receives as a bequest a letter from his uncle that gives him the riddle of the leopard. Harry’s bartender suggests that the leopard ended up there as he was on a false scent and became lost, but Harry takes Helen on a safari to Kenya to learn the answer to the riddle. He is injured and develops an infection. As Harry nears death, the protective Helen fights off a witch doctor. Following the directions in an emergency first aid manual, she opens Harry’s wound to release the infection. At the dawn, a medical party arrives by airplane. The vultures and hyenas who have been awaiting Harry’s death leave and never return. Harry realizes his love for Helen.

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