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The Roots of Heaven (1958)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama | 15 October 1958 (USA)
In French Equatorial Africa, an idealist ecologist starts a campaign of public awareness to help save the African elephants from extinction.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Romain Gary (novel), Romain Gary (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Errol Flynn ... Forsythe
Juliette Gréco ... Minna (as Juliette Greco)
Trevor Howard ... Morel
Eddie Albert ... Abe Fields
Orson Welles ... Cy Sedgewick
Paul Lukas ... Saint Denis
Herbert Lom ... Orsini
Grégoire Aslan ... Habib
André Luguet ... Governor
Friedrich von Ledebur ... Peer Qvist (as Friedrich Ledebur)
Edric Connor Edric Connor ... Waitari
Olivier Hussenot Olivier Hussenot ... Baron
Pierre Dudan Pierre Dudan ... Major Schölscher
Marc Doelnitz Marc Doelnitz ... De Vries
Francis De Wolff Francis De Wolff ... Father Farque (as Francis de Wolff)
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Storyline

In Fort Lamy, French Equatorial 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." At first, he finds only support from Minna, hostess of the town's only night club, who is in love with him, and a derelict ex-British Army Major, Forsythe. His crusade gains momentum and he is soon surrounded by an odd assortment of characters: Cy Sedgewick, an American TV commentator who becomes impressed and rallies world-wide support; a U.S. photographer, Abe Fields, who is sent to do a picture story on Morel and stays on to follow his ideals; Saint Denis, a government aide ordered to stop Morel; Orsini, a professional ivory hunter whose vested interests aren't the same as Morel's; and Waitari, leader of a Pan-African movement who follows Morel only for the personal good it will do his own campaign. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Of human laughter, wonder and tenderness !

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 October 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Las raíces del cielo See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,000,000, 31 December 1958
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Huston agreed to direct for a fee he described as "slightly higher" than $300,000. See more »

Quotes

Abe Fields: This is a great story, the scoop of the century, and I got plenty of film left!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Last of Robin Hood (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Minna's Theme
(uncredited)
Music by Henri Patterson
Arranged by Malcolm Arnold
See more »

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User Reviews

Elephants can remember
18 January 2008 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Based on a novel by Romain Gary (who was Jean Seberg's husband ;she was the star of one of his obscure works "Les Oiseaux Vont Mourir Au Pérou" ),"Roots of Heaven " is generally dismissed ,even by Huston's buffs.And nevertheless....

It was an ecological movie,at a time it was not trendy :as Nicholas Ray ,at about the same time,was filming "wind across the everglades" ,a heartfelt plea for the defense of Florida 's wildlife,Huston did the same for the elephants ,victims of the poachers .THe odd couple,who is one of Huston's recurrent features is present:Morel ,who is championing the elephants cause ,is joined by a prostitute (played by glorious actress/chanteuse Juliette Greco).

"Roots of Heaven" was a definitive improvement on "the Barbarian and the Geisha " and paved a reliable way to works to come such as "the unforgiven" , "the misfits" and the highly superior "Freud" and "Night of the Iguana" .This is an overlong movie,but even if it cannot be ranked among the director's best ,it's worth at least a watch .


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