Romain Gary's best-selling novel The Roots of Heaven was adapted to film in Cinemascope and DeLuxe Color by producer Darryl F. Zanuck. Though billed third, Trevor Howard plays the central character, an idealist who has gone into Africa in hopes of saving the elephants from extinction. At first regarded as a crank, Howard shows he's not kidding by taking a shot at the posterior of a pompous news commentator (Orson Welles). As Howard's crusade gains momentum, several opportunists go along with him, among them a disgraced British military officer (Errol Flynn) hoping to redeem himself. Roots of Heaven represented the last truly worthwhile screen appearance by Errol Flynn, who died less than a year after filming his Roots death scene. The film itself was shot on location in French Equatorial Africa--a grueling experience for its stars and its director (John Huston), one worthy of a book in itself.
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