In turn-of-the-century Florida, an idealistic new Audubon warden (Christopher Plummer) tries to arrest a legendary bird poacher known as “Cottonmouth” (Burl Ives), who lives deep in the Everglades with his band of unruly henchmen. This unusual adventure tale deals with an ethical dilemma not often discussed in Hollywood films: turn-of-the-century feather poaching in Florida (!). Despite its ecological underpinnings, however, Everglades is essentially a tale of archetypal opposites, with Plummer’s young (urban) protagonist bumping up against Burl Ives’ indomitable force of nature, and both men grudgingly earning each other’s respect. Ultimately, there’s not quite enough going on here to bolster a full-fledged narrative (countless subplots — including a love affair between Plummer and Chana Eden, and some hillbilly antics by Ives’ crew — seem haphazardly thrown in), but Ives and Plummer make for compelling enough enemies to hold our attention throughout. Watch for Peter Falk in his screen debut. —Filmfanatic.org
Born in small-town Wisconsin in 1911, Nicholas Ray’s early experience with film came with some radio broadcasting in high school. He left the University of Chicago after a year, but made such an impression on his professor and writer Thorton Wilder that he was recommended for a scholarship with Frank Lloyd Wright, where he learned the importance of space and geography, not to mention his later love for CinemaScope. When political differences came between the seasoned architect and his young protégé, Ray left for New York and became immersed in the radical theater. He joined the Theater of Action and later the Group Theater, which is where he met his good friend Elia Kazan. Times were tough and money was tight, but Ray loved the bohemian lifestyle of the close-knit group and enjoyed one of the happiest times of his life. Anybody who met him always noted his intellect and amazing energy. During this period he, along with his fellow Theater Group members, was also active in Socialist/Communist… read more
Though undeniably sloppy in places, probably due to the film being taken out of an ill Ray's hands at the editing stage by writer/co-producer Schulberg, there's still some great stuff in this offbeat eco-drama by one of the great mavericks. It's a fascinating curio with an eccentric cast and any movie featuring Ives in a Kurtz-like role hamming it up outrageously whilst stroking a deadly snake is alright in my book..
Playing like a demented cross between Fellini & Lil' Abner, Bud Schulberg's & Nicholas Ray's film features Christopher Plummer in one of his first roles. He plays an ornithologist working in the Everglades and attempting to stop swamp gangster Burl Ives & his goons from pouching the bird population. The actors are all perfect (among Ives's posse is a young Peter Falk and a make-up-less Emmett Kelley).
A special Lost Sounds and Soundtracks edition in honor of the centennial of Nicholas Ray’s birth.
Nicholas Ray. Did Hollywood produce any other figure in whom inhered the very ethos of the struggling Artist against the System? Well, there
"Budd Schulberg, who exposed the dark side of American ambition in his acclaimed Hollywood novel What Makes Sammy Run? and won an
Wind Across the Everglades played as part of a 15-film Nicholas Ray retrospective at New York’s Film Forum on July 30th. *** Wind Across