Elephant Walk (1954): Melodrama Starring Liz Taylor, Peter Finch, and Elephants

Vivien Leigh, the original leading lady of William Dieterle’s adventure mlodrama, Elephant Walk, had to be replaced due to sickness by Elizabeth Taylor, when the film was well in production.

Based on a novel by Robert Standish, the film centers on Ruth Wiley (Liz Taylor), the new bride of plantation owner John Wiley (Peter Finch).

At first thrilled at the prospect of living in the wilds of Ceylon, Ruth rapidly becomes frustrated.

When the American overseer Dick Carver (Dana Andrews) arrives on the scene, Ruth falls in love with him.  About to leave her husband, the region is devastated by cholera. Making things worse, the local elephants go on a rampage, destroying John’s mansion, which his father had built

Burdened with sexual symbolism, Elephant Walk has become a cult movie among some gay viewers, who perceive it for what it is, a glossy soap opera.

The climactic stampede, however, was disappointingly shot on a studio interior set, failing to qualify as a thrilling climax.

Even so, the movie was popular at the box-office, solidifying Taylor’s status as a major star of the decade.

Running time: 103 minutes.

Directed by William Dieterle

Written by John Lee Mahin

Released: April 21, 1954 Wide

DVD: July 12, 2005