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Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Elephant Walk (1954)

Elephant Walk (1954) (NTSC)

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Released 8-Jul-2020

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1954
Running Time 102:29
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By William Dieterie
ViaVision Starring Elizabeth Taylor
Dana Andrews
Peter Finch
Abraham Sofaer
Abner Biberman
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Franz Waxman

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† After a whirlwind romance in London wealthy tea plantation owner John Wiley (Peter Finch) marries Ruth (Elizabeth Taylor) and takes his bride back to his plantation, called Elephant Walk, in the hills of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then). Johnís father Tom Wiley, still known locally as The Governor although he has been dead for a decade, had deliberately built the Elephant Walk house directly across the path wild elephants used to come down to the river; now fences and local beaters are needed to keep the elephants at bay. This was not the only legacy of Tom Wiley; his tomb is in the houseís garden, his aging servant Appuhamy (Abraham Sofaer) still runs the household, his old room in the house is a locked shrine and on the weekend a group of planters still gather at the house in a kind of old boysí club, to drink, smoke, play billiards and indulge in boisterous horse-play like drunken bicycle polo as John tries live up to his fatherís legend.

†††† This is not the same John that Ruth loved and married in London and, as the only white woman in the district, she feels isolated and alienated, made worse by the fact that Appuhamy is hostile to her and opposes her attempts to change things at every opportunity. Ruth, despite herself, is drawn to the plantation overseer Dick Carver (Dana Andrews), the only man around who seems to have any sensitivity. Matters donít improve when John breaks his leg in a drunken game of bicycle polo; he is not a good patient and despite the ministrations of Dr Pereira (Abner Biberman) and Ruth his temper and treatment of Ruth only get worse. When, finally, Ruth has had enough she agrees to run away with Dick but they are unable to leave because of a cholera outbreak that has forced the plantation into quarantine. Ruth immerses herself in tending the sick and dying plantation workers, finally winning the respect of Appuhamy. In addition the monsoon rains are very late; with no plantation workers to hold them back the thirst crazed elephants revert to their traditional route to water rampaging through the plantation, and the house.

†††† Elephant Walk was based on a novel by Robert Standish and directed by William Dieterie. Oscar nominated for The Life of Emile Zola (1937), the year prior to Elephant Walk Dieterie had been directing Rita Hayworth in the Biblical epic Salome in Israel; now he has a young Elizabeth Taylor in Sri Lanka although Taylor was not in the role when the film started shooting. Originally Janet Leigh was hired to be Ruth but after shooting commenced her mental illness deteriorated to the extent that she was replaced by Taylor. Some of Leighís long shots are still in the film, I suspect in the sequence where Ruth and Dick go riding together. Although not the first choice Taylor is stunningly beautiful and turns in a good performance as the lonely wife, even when menaced by elephants, while Peter Finch is also very good. The weak link is Dana Andrews; even when Finch is being beastly to Taylor he still has more charisma than Andrews can muster and so the scenes between Ruth and Dick as part of the passionate triangle donít really hold up. Andrews was, of course, the only one of the three who did not in later decades win an Oscar: Taylor for Whoís Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) and Finch for Network (1976).

†††† Filmed by cinematographer Loyal Griggs (who won an Oscar the year before for Shane (1953)) the tea plantation house, the Ceylonese hills and trees and the rather obligatory Ceylonese native dance sequence all look beautiful in Technicolor while the scenes with elephants rampaging inside the house destroying pillars, the staircase, walls, fixtures and fittings amid flames and crashing debris is a very spectacular climax, made more impressive, of course, because of the use of real elephants.

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Transfer Quality


†††† Elephant Walk is presented in Technicolor in the 1.37:1 original aspect ratio, in NTSC and not 16x9 enhanced. This was the last film Paramount shot and released in that aspect ratio.

†††† Close-ups show strong detail and deep colours; the green of the palm leaves and vegetation, the yellow, green and red of the costumes of the Ceylonese dancers, the flames during the destruction of the house but many of the back projection shots such as the ruins of the ancient city and stupa look quite soft. The detail within the sets, including the dark massive interior of the Elephant Walk plantation house, with its levels and staircase, is excellent. Skin tones and contrast can occasionally vary, blacks are solid, including Taylorís dark hair, shadow detail very good. There were regular tiny speckles on show but nothing serious.

†††† English subtitles are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps.

†††† The dialogue is easy to hear. There are not a lot of effects except for the occasional trumpeting elephant until the audio springs to life during the drumming of the dance scene and the destruction of the house during the climax with the crashes of walls, pillars and the staircase and the fire effects having a good depth. There are also some nice rain and thunder effects. The score is by Franz Waxman; he won Oscars for Sunset Blvd. (1950) and A Place in the Sun (1951) although his orchestral music here is a somewhat generic sounding 1940s and 1950s score.

†††† There was no hiss or crackle.

††††Lip synchronisation is mostly good except for some dialogue by Abraham Sofaer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


†††† There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† The US Region 1 NTSC and the UK Region 2 PAL versions of Elephant Walk, released 15 years ago, were also without extras.e


†††† Elephant Walk is a colourful, glossy melodrama with passion, a beautiful Elizabeth Taylor trying to find her place in a world dominated by the legacy of her husbandís dead father, cholera and, of course, elephants. Let true love prevail.

†††† The video is colourful, the audio is fine. No extras of any sort.

†††† Elephant Walk was supplied for review by ViaVision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, August 07, 2020
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE