21 August 2015 | laresrevolt
Elephant Walk is an ode to Resistance.
In Elephant Walk,directed by William Dieterle and set in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the elephants symbolically represent resistance to British colonialism. Viewed from an anti-colonial perspective the film becomes a highly charged, beautifully made pamphlet against colonial grabbing as practiced by the masters of Elephant Walk, British Empire profiteers. To build his fortune, Tom Wiley, the dead, arrogant, greedy tyrant colonizer stopped at nothing, including cutting off the water supply of the Elephants and, collaterally, of the native Ceylonese. However, usurping wealth (tea) and using people as virtual slaves resulted, as usual, in knee-jerk resistance to an unjust economic order, to environmental spoilage, to the rule over the many by a few, to a system formatted to make sure the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This resistance is what the elephants represented. Instead of the ignored elephant in the room, this picture is about resistance symbolized by elephants that won't be ignored. Elizabeth Taylor portrayed a person born and raised in England who remained oblivious to the true nature of the colonial system. She was like 99% of Brits who, like most of us, were and remain victims of the class who has declared it has a right to possess the world and its people. Today we call this class Wall Street, The Banks, The 1%. Fortunately, in 1972, Ceylon became Sri Lanka and the natives recuperated their land. They may not be any richer today but anything beats being a virtual slave at the hands of British colonial masters, one of the greediest, most arrogant and dehumanizing groups ever to infest the planet. The movie masterfully depicts the true nature of the money-hungry economic parasites who were interested in only one thing – making $$$$££££ - and willing to do anything to get it. John Wiley the character so excellently portrayed by Peter Finch, is more true to life than say, The Great Gatsby, a romanticized version of a 1 percenter. The more I watch this film, the better it gets. Elisabeth Taylor is stunning. Peter Finch is captivating. Dana Andrews is, as always, excellent. The supporting cast is superb. The direction is masterful. The natural decor is hauntingly luxuriant and the interior sets are memorable. So is there anything wrong with this picture? Only that it remains underrated.