I spent the afternoon watching The Snows of Kilimanjaro, an old flick about a “Hemingwayesque” author, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Susan Hayward. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but with the exception of seeing Gregory Peck–my all-time favorite actor, regardless of his age–I hated it. Truly. Something occurred early in the film that upset me no end, and I wasn’t able to shake it during the entire two hours it ran.
It wasn’t the implied sex and Harry Street’s lascivious lifestyle that bothered me. These days, we’re accustomed to far worse. Heaven knows today’s commercials contain far more innuendo than the film did.
The smoking didn’t get me either. My dad’s family is from Georgia, a tobacco state, and they were one of the ones who made a living on the crop. Being ashamed of our heritage is a comparatively recent societal requirement. Besides, as everyone knows, smoking in these old films is common.
The drinking wasn’t a problem either. Face it–the story is about an author. Any author, Christian or otherwise, can occasionally see how our chosen career can drive a writer to drink. Not all of us act on it, but there are times when I, for one, can be totally sympathetic.
No, what furrowed my brow and deepened my frown wrinkles was this: Harry got a contract on his first book, and an advance high enough to leave France for Africa. But it gets better: his royalties were high enough for him to live comfortably, go on safaris, and travel all over Europe.
And get this–never once did they portray Harry struggling to promote his book. Not once!
Oh, please! You expect me to believe that?
I’m an anachronism, absolutely in the wrong era. I should’ve been born early in the last century and reached the peak of my career in the 1940s.
Ah, well. I have something the early writers didn’t. I have a computer.
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