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Green Fire

Gasser

Green Fire (1955)

     I now find myself a single step away from completing my Grace Kelly checklist and having seen all the princess’ movies. Thankfully, last week TCM played the hard-to-locate Green Fire leaving only Fourteen Hours on my list, which happens to be a disc or two away on my Netflix queue. Victory is within my reach making the hum-drum Green Fire completely worth the time.

    Although the magnanimous Grace Kelly was a pleasure to watch in Green Fire, her surrounding characters left something to be desired, namely Stewart Granger‘s Rian X. Mitchell (first of all, who has X as a middle initial?). The story follow’s Rian’s hunt for “green fire,” or emeralds, in Columbia. He locates a mine he thinks will be fruitful and that lies on a mountain above Kelly’s character’s coffee plantation. Catherine and Rian are in love but this does not preclude the latter from slyly persuading his girlfriend’s brother to give him the family’s only $10,000 and all 200 of the plantation’s workers to assist the expedition.

     The bizarre thing is Rian never came off as ruthless enough to willingly hurt Catherine and her livelihood. Ambitious, yes. Ruthless, no. Not only that, but the “step mining” technique his workers employ (similar to today’s strip mining) ends up dumping rock and foliage into the river, altering its course and causing it to threaten to flood the coffee plantation once the rainy season starts (which apparently was later that day). Obviously Catherine is furious, and the death of her brother under Rian’s charge does not help.

     Catherine resolves to — with some help — blow up a portion of the mountain thus redirecting the river’s flow and destroying Rian’s work in the process. SPOILER ALERT A shoot out with some bandits leads Rian to do the right thing and destroy his claim (only after seeing Catherine cry, of course) and thus save them from the attack. Low and behold, that’s all he had to do to re-win Catherine’s heart. Nevermind her brother is still dead. Also — and this likely reflects the times — but no one seems to mind that Rian and his workers are in effect destroying the facade of the mountain and all the wildlife by mining the land from the surface. If one were to make this movie today, it would include protesters or a main character raising her voice about how this outsider is ruining their natural surroundings.

     Hopefully Fourteen Hours will be a better Kelly experience. It was her first film, so I do not think her character is a lead spot. Still, perhaps the best way to end a list is to go to the beginning. Look for that review soon.

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