White Hunter Black Heart is a 1990 film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood as John Wilson, based on the book by Peter Viertel. Viertel also wrote the script. The film was based on several Golden Age of Hollywood movie producers. The main character is based on real-life director John Huston; at times, Eastwood can be heard drawing out his vowels, speaking in Huston's distinctive style and George Dzundza's character is based on African Queen producer Sam Spiegel. While not a huge success in its time, this film is now considered one of Eastwood's finest moments as both an actor and director.White Hunter Black Heart 1990 Clint Eastwood Original Belgian poster
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To view the Original Trailer, click Below:
Click below to view a rare French Trailer inc lots of Behind the scenes footage and a closing Cannes 1990 card
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 Clint Eastwood Original Australian Day bill poster
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To view the Original Trailer, click Below:
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 DVD with Trailer
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 U.S. Laserdisc (Full screen) Edition
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 Lobby set x 12 French
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 Lobby set x 8 German
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 Original film tie in paperback
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 10 x 8 Original Press Stills b/w x 22 + 1 Colour
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 Full Press kit with 8 bw Stills, Production notes and artwork folder
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 US Original Tin Badge featuring full film artwork
Other material from around the World:
Below: The Original U.S. 1 Sheet poster
Below: The U.S Lobby card set of 8 and a close up example
The New York Times feature on the film ''White Hunter, Black Heart
FILM; Clint Eastwood Directs Himself Portraying a Director
By JANE PERLEZ
Published: September 16, 1990
KARIBA, Zimbabwe— Moving through the green and sepia tones of the savannah, kicking up dust and stones, an open Land-Rover suddenly pulls to a halt and several intent white men, clad in khaki hunting gear, leap out, rifles in hand. One of them, tall and lean, his face shaded by the wide awning of his bush hat, has a particular urgency. ''On to a big one?'' he asks the young African boy waiting for him.
This was Clint Eastwood in Africa, filming his first movie on the continent), and he was asking about the size of the elephant that had just been sighted. Assured by a majestic wave of a spear that the beast was magnificent and certainly taller than any of them, Mr. Eastwood and his party stalked off into the parched grass in search of their quarry.
One might imagine Mr. Eastwood on his first African outing choosing a theme around the elemental confrontation of man and nature. He did so, but with a fillip and a salute to aficionados of Hollywood's past. ''White Hunter, Black Heart,'' which opened Friday, is based on the making of ''The African Queen'' and the obsession of the director John Huston, not about creating the movie at hand, but about hunting and shooting an elephant on safari in the Congo, now Zaire. Mr. Eastwood plays Huston, of course, and as he has done in most of his recent movies, directs and produces, as well.
A novel was written about the personalities and the drama surrounding the 1951 production of ''The African Queen'' in the deepest reaches of the Congo, by the movie's scriptwriter, Peter Viertel. Called ''White Hunter, Black Heart'' and written after Mr. Viertel had a falling out with Mr. Huston over the script, it depicts a disdainful movie director who defies all the laws of Hollywood to make his picture in Africa and successfully guns down an elephant at the same time.
In a year when the rampant poaching of the elephant herds in eastern and central Africa resulted in Western governments imposing bans on the trading of ivory and created a groundswell of opposition to the wearing of ivory, the ending of the movie ''White Hunter, Black Heart'' (also written by Mr. Viertel with James Bridges and Burt Kennedy) was modified from the novel on which it is based. Mr. Eastwood finds his elephant, confronts it, but doesn't shoot. As in the book, his young African guide, Kivu, is killed in the elephant stampede that results from the hunt.
''It gets the point across without shooting the elephant,'' Mr. Eastwood said during filming last year, as he sat on a boulder in the grass, waiting for the Land-Rover scene to be readied, a tote bag of recent American newspapers flown in for catch-up reading, beside him. ''I prefer personally not to do it, that the obsession come to an end before he has to shoot. The obsession driving him to the brink and costing him Kivu's life is bad enough to give him the guilts.''
Mr. Eastwood said he was drawn by the notion of obsession in the script, and just as pleasing, he said, the script read well. ''I liked the morality. I know a lot of younger hunters who suddenly don't have the appetite for it anymore,'' he said. ''I've done other pictures about people who are obsessed. This one seemed very intelligent. There are a lot of ironies: making a classic kind of film while thinking about everything but making the film.''
He was also intrigued by the love-hate relationship portrayed in Mr. Viertel's script between the Huston character and the Viertel character, played by the up-and-coming 33-year-old actor Jeff Fahey, handpicked by Mr. Eastwood because he is ''new and yet good.''
''It's about the relationship between two men on an adventure, going off to Africa,'' Mr. Eastwood said. ''The younger fellow is under the illusion of making a film; the other fellow has made good pictures and is willing to drift off, willing to make everyone wait a bit.''
In the Eastwood movie, Mr. Fahey as the frustrated scriptwriter finds himself accompanying the director on safari instead of fine-tuning the script. ''You're about to blow this picture out of your nose, for what?'' Mr. Fahey seethes at one point. ''To commit a crime, to kill one of the rarest, most noble creatures that walks this crummy earth.'' The scathing rejoinder from Mr. Eastwood sums up the obsession: ''It's the only sin you can buy a license for and then go out and commit.''
In Mr. Huston's autobiography, ''An Open Book'' which Mr. Eastwood carried along with him on location - the director confessed that he never killed an elephant during the making of ''The African Queen,'' ''although I surely tried.'' Like the updated character that Mr. Eastwood portrays, Mr. Huston wrote in his 1980 book that he had by that time given up all shooting.
''White Hunter, Black Heart'' promises plenty of familiarity for fans of ''The African Queen.'' The supporting cast - including Marisa Berenson, who as a child knew all the actors in ''The African Queen,'' plays a lookalike Katharine Hepburn - has been attired according to how people looked on the set in 1951.
Dress from the photographs from the Congo in Miss Hepburn's account ''The Making of the African Queen,'' published three years ago, were followed faithfully by the wardrobe department for the ''White Hunter,'' right down to Lauren Bacall's black wing-tipped sunglasses (she did not appear in ''The African Queen'' but accompanied Humphrey Bogart to the Congo) and the crew's khaki shirts and trousers.
Unlike many recent Africa-based productions, this one was not filmed in Kenya. Mr. Eastwood's scouts looked into Kenya but found several unappealing factors.
For one thing, the Kenyans insisted on vetting the script. And while Mr. Eastwood said he wasn't ''doing anything anti-anyone,'' on principle he did not want censors. He heard about the expense of doing business in Kenya because of the demands for bribes, another negative factor for the budget-conscious director whose company, Malpaso, produced the $10 million movie. For the sake of comfort, he had the drinking water checked at Kariba, a wildlife area on the edge of a huge lake in eastern Zimbabwe which served as the headquarters for the two months of shooting, and found it to be of better quality than at home in environmentally aware Carmel, Calif.
Zimbabwean authorities, not exactly newcomers to movie makers, (the Richard Attenborough movie ''Cry Freedom,'' among others in the past few years, was shot here) were helpful, Mr. Eastwood said. They cleared the way for the use of the Zambesi River above Victoria Falls for a scene involving the African Queen boat. On the first attempt, that scene turned out to be more of an escapade than anyone expected.
The motor on the boat cut out, and as Mr. Eastwood and Mr. Fahey were drifting perilously close to the edge of the falls, Mr. Eastwood radioed for help. A speedboat was dispatched and the filming of the sequence ditched until a better boat, and superior special effects personnel, were flown in from England. ''The special effects department did not do too well by me the first time,'' Mr. Eastwood said.
The Government also helped out with military helicopters to ferry the movie's stars to and from their hotel and Fothergill Island on Kariba Lake, where the set of ''The African Queen'' - with its whitewashed church, hunting lodge and African huts - was built. Mr. Eastwood, an accomplished helicopter pilot, flew himself back and forth. Another bonus was Isaac Mabhikwa, an experienced local associate director who had worked on other big movies and knew how to direct the non-English-speaking African cast, particularly the young boy, Kivu.
Compared to the humid, dense rain forest and attendant scorpions and snakes that the ''African Queen'' crew had to deal with, this latter-day group had it easy: a modern tourist motel at Kariba served as base camp.
Being on location with ''The African Queen,'' Mr. Eastwood suggested, looked rosy only from a distance. ''The romance might have all come in hindsight,'' he said. ''There was supposed to be bottled water, but they'd get it out of the stream. The director of photography had to finish the film on a litter. He couldn't get well enough to get on his feet.'' Mr. Eastwood always carried a bottle of Evian on his set, despite the measured purity of Kariba's water.
Working with his director of photography, Jack Green, in what was their 19th film together, Mr. Eastwood slid effortlessly between his roles as director and leading actor. Often, he checked the visuals through the camera lens, then stepped back and performed his part - playing a movie director in the African bush came naturally enough - managing, as is his custom, with only two or three takes.
''By and large I know what I want,'' he said of his well-known economy of takes. ''When I see it, I walk away from it. When I don't see it, I'll stay there. I'm patient.''
For the closing scene of ''White Hunter, Black Heart,'' Mr. Eastwood returns from the fateful elephant hunt, his African guide dead and a movie still to be made. He drives up to the mock set of ''The African Queen,'' Mr. Fahey with him, to find the relatives of the dead boy wailing and his movie stars - the Miss Hepburn character among them - waiting for him. Also waiting is a spiffy looking, very stout Sam Spiegel character, played by George Dzundza, in concrete-stiff white shirt and shorts. The ''African Queen'' film crew, operating cumbersome 1950's camera gear, stood by.
Mr. Eastwood, playing a dejected Mr. Huston, upset by the botched elephant hunt, slumped into a director's chair, turned to the crew, motioned with his hand and called, ''Action!'' He turned to Miss Berenson, given the name Kay Gibson, and asked: ''Ready, Miss Gibson?'' The actress, in a long, flowing dress and upswept hair similar to Miss Hepburn's in ''The African Queen,'' walked toward the whitewashed church.