A young Venezuelan idealist flees his native land to escape a revolution. Hoping to find peace, he goes to the mountains and the forests of the Amazon. There he encounters Rima, the Bird Girl, an orphan living a life of nature. It is all an admirable romance telling a tale of "quest, love, and violence."Written by
During the film, Rima is shown accompanied by a fawn. In order for the animal to properly bond with the actress, Audrey Hepburn effectively adopted the baby deer in the weeks preceding production. See more »
While walking through the forest looking for her grandfather, Rima's hair changes from being in front of to behind her shoulders between shots. See more »
When I was a young man I fell in with bad companions. By the time I was 40 I had sunk to ranging the countryside with a gang of ruffians. Oh, I flattered myself I was the least offensive of the lot. I never killed anyone, never stole - except to live.
Did you steal the gold from Riolama?
It was to be simple theft and flight. It was a massacre. They killed... they killed, and pillaged, and raped...
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Let's dispense with the good points first. At least SOME of the casting works. Specificly, I'm speaking, first, of Hepburn at her most mysterious and bewitching. No one else could have possibly played Rima with the fey charm tinged with mystery that Audrey, at her most radiant, brings to the role. Then, there's Henry Silva as a virile, villianous Indian. Silva, to my mind, was and still is one of the cinema's great heavies, and he doesn't disappoint here. His quiet underplaying vs. Tony Perkins' hammy overplaying when the former's duplicity is discovered is a perfect illustration of what stands the test of time and what doesn't. Plus, there are the beautiful Amazon locations and Bronislau Kaper's beautiful, understated score.
Now on to the bad points, and where better to begin that Tony Perkins' impossible miscasting in the lead. The lean, intense Perkins was always a masterly potrayer of angst, as Hitchcock discovered the next year. But he was never much of a conventional leading man, and this film, and the following year's "Tall Story," bring this weakness sharply into focus. Someone such as, say, Robert Wagner or Laurence Harvey, would have been far more believeable. They were the right age for the role, and both were under contract to MGM at the time. What were they thinking? Then there's Sessue Hayakawa, still riding high from his "River Kwai" comeback, as the most improbable native chieftan on record. At least he comports himself with his usual innate dignity. Mel Ferrer, Hepburn's husband at the time, was always a fine actor, but never more than an average director. One can invision a William Wyler (busy at the time with "Ben-Hur"), a George Cukor, or a William Dieterle as a far better director for this film. Finally, Dorothy Kingsly's screenplay fails to patch up the several sizable holes in the original W.H. Hudson story, particularly the "Is-she-dead-or-isn't-she?" ending.
In short, you could do worse that this film, but you could do much, much better, too.
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