Henry Silva

Green Mansions (1959)

Green Mansions PosterAfter his father is killed by rebels, Abel (Anthony Perkins) heads into the Venezuelan wilderness to avenge his death and find a rumored cache of gold. Along the way, he encounters a tribe of natives and wins the respect of their chief Runi (Sessue Hayawaka) and his son Kua-Ko (Henry Silva). Abel is allowed to stay with the tribe, as long as he doesn’t hurt them. Kua-Ko warns Abel to stay out of a nearby jungle, which of course only makes Abel want to go explore them. While getting a drink at a pond, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious woman in the reflection.

When the tribe finds out that Abel has gone into the forbidden jungle, Runi wants Abel to go back to kill the woman. Instead, he goes back to warn her, but before he can, is bitten by a very poisonous snake. He awakens two days later to find himself being cared for by the mysterious woman, named Rima (Audrey Hepburn), and her grandfather Nuflo (Lee J. Cobb). Abel will need a few more days to fully recover, and while staying with Rima, who has been living in the jungle with her grandfather since she was a child. She shows him around the jungle and while he falls in love with her, Rima is confused by her feelings for him.

Abel returns to the tribe a few days later and after explaining that he couldn’t kill Rima, the tribe doesn’t believe him and Kua-Ko vows to kill her himself. Abel runs to warn Rima and Nuflo and together they flee, but along the way, Rima learns some upsetting truths about her grandfather and the childhood she longs to remember.

Oh, dear. I took a break from  the Every Simpsons Ever marathon on FXX for this? Green Mansions is just a mess of a movie. Anthony Perkins is one of the least believable adventurer types I have ever seen. He is woefully out of place here and his performance is as wooden as a lumber yard. Audrey Hepburn isn’t particularly good in it, either, which is hugely disappointing. There’s absolutely no chemistry between her and Perkins, the story wasn’t very interesting, and the whole thing just left me wishing I had spent those two hours watching something else.

The Tall T (1957)

The Tall TWhile making a trip to buy a seed bull, cowboy Pat Brennan (Randolph Scott) loses a bet with his former employer and has to give up his horse.  Pat starts walking home and along the way, he’s passed by his friend Ed Rintoon (Arthur Hunnicutt), who is driving a stagecoach with newlyweds Doretta (Maureen O’Sullivan) and Willard Mims (John Hubbard) on board.  Ed offers to give Pat a lift, but when they arrive at a way station, a group of three men — Frank Usher (Richard Boone), Billy Jack (Skip Homeier), and Chink (Henry Silva) — holds them at gunpoint and tries to rob them.

Ed tries to reach for his gun, but is shot down.  Willard, who has only married Doretta for her money, tells the robbers that they could get more money by sending a ransom note to Doretta’s father than they could by robbing stagecoaches.  Frank writes a ransom note and sends Willard and Billy to deliver it while the others leave for the robbers’ camp.  Willard and Billy arrive at the camp the next day with news that Doretta’s father has agreed to pay a $50,000 ransom and Willard gets permission to leave camp, but is shot dead before he can get very far.

When Frank leaves to get the ransom from Doretta’s father, that leaves Billy and Chink to keep an eye on Pat and Doretta.  But luckily for Pat and Doretta, their captors are easily manipulated and Pat comes up with a plan to break free.

I quite enjoyed The Tall T.  Randolph Scott is fantastic in it and Budd Botticher’s direction is excellent.  It’s a fast paced story loaded with grit and suspense; there isn’t a single moment that left me looking at the clock wondering how much of the movie was left.  The Tall T is one of those westerns that makes it very easy for people who aren’t typically fans of westerns to enjoy it.  Definitely keep your eye out for this one on the TCM schedule.