Wind Across the Everglades Screen 7 articles

Wind Across the Everglades

1958

Wind Across the Everglades Poster
  • Given this backstory, you’d expect WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES to be an utter mess, yet it contains passages of tremendous beauty and power, and Ray’s distinctive vision shines through for much of the running time.

  • Burl’s Cottonmouth manages to be both gregarious and terrifying, a subtle inversion of the actor/singer’s usual cherubic grandiosity, especially at the point where he eventually realizes he has to pay the piper, surrendering his buffet of flesh to the ravenous infusoria of the Everglades. A Death in the Garden style evocation of the sultry, holy madness of nature’s insatiable hunger, with an unwavering hero of whom Herzog could be proud.

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    Film Comment: Justin Stewart
    January 04, 2016 | January/February 2016 Issue (p. 77)

    Viewers with a high tolerance for seam-hiding Everglades cutaways won't mind their frequency or mismatched film stocks—this beguiling curio doubles as a humid Technicolor vacation.

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    Sight & Sound: Michael Atkinson
    November 27, 2015 | January 2016 Issue (p. 102)

    It's a rough-hewn movie, full of half-hearted moments, but it also has a robust mano-a-mano tension and a savvy sense of landscape. (If anything the simplicity and naivety of the script's environmental message, which was all Schulberg, deflates what could have been a full-on, primeval 'Southern', had Ray been as supported and capable as he had been just a few years earlier.)

  • An atmospheric, location-rich action film... Neither “Emperor of the North” nor “Wind Across the Everglades” is “Citizen Kane” (or even Welles’s last studio film, “Touch of Evil”). But both attest to a time when Hollywood often produced unheralded, offbeat, personal works of art.

  • This material has a ferocity perfectly suited to Ray, but it’s unclear how heavy a hand he had in developing these themes. Ray was notoriously fired from the shoot, with writer/producer Budd Schulberg tapped to complete the movie and help assemble a cut, but it’s hard not to see at least what drew the director to the project, even if he didn’t get to fully shape it...

  • Ray’s masterful use of color and mystical sense of equality between the antagonists (also evident in Rebel Without a Cause and Bitter Victory) are made all the more piquant here by his feeling for folklore and outlaw ethics as well as his cadenced mise en scene. The result is somewhat choppy (one gets a sense of subplots being truncated), yet the film builds to a powerful encounter between Plummer and Ives, and Ray’s personal touches are unmistakable.