Wind Across the Everglades

Screening on Film
Directed by Nicholas Ray.
With Christopher Plummer, Burl Ives, Gypsy Rose Lee.
US, 1958, 35mm, color, 93 min.
Print source: Warner Bros.

Shot entirely on location in the Everglades in southern Florida, Ray incorporated extraordinary wildlife footage into this ecologically-tinged drama. Written and produced by Budd Schulberg, Wind pits a zealous game warden against a band of ruthless poachers, led by the murderous Cottonmouth – played by Ray’s old friend from his radio days, Burl Ives – who kill birds for their valuable plumes. The film has a before-its-time environmentalism, with nature depicted as a powerful force with a primal ability to exact revenge when not treated with respect. Ray’s fascination with marginal cultures lends a sympathetic tenor to the gang of poachers, who hide out in the Everglades and, abiding their own set of communal laws, enact a raw brand of “natural” justice.

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Nicholas Ray. Hollywood's Last Romantic

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