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ELIZABETH TAYLOR AND DANA ANDREWS IN 'ELEPHANT WALK'

Poster artwork for ELEPHANT WALK Year: 1954
Elephants are beautiful, majestic, powerful and... potentially dangerous — not man-eaters but could easily become human-stompers if something got in their way...

So in ELEPHANT WALK the gallant gray beasts provide a suspenseful element of doom... which takes an entire brooding melodrama to pan out... and yet, it's not all their fault..
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
As usual, those vapid, selfish humans are to blame: And in the British Dominion of Ceylon, an immense watering hole that herds of elephants would rush to during drought season, has a "bungalow" mansion as a bulwark to their path. And only a large backyard wall serves as protection...

KING KONG proved how ineffective that can be, and like that movie, the plot is simple, and most important, extremely familiar to Elizabeth Taylor fans...
Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
In two years she'd star alongside Rock Hudson and a posthumous James Dean in what would be her greatest film, GIANT – as the wife of a stubborn, determined, old-fashioned millionaire, she was equally set in her ways and not too crazy about the ingrained "boys club" mentality...

While here, being the only white woman in a land full of natives, she's not as headstrong as the husband she'd met in England, played by a weaselly Peter Finch, the owner of the "Elephant Walk" Tea Plantation: Their hotel-like chateau perpetually harbors loud, obnoxiously-drunk Englishmen playing bicycle-polo in the main hall...
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Instead of putting her foot down, Taylor's more vulnerable, ladylike character whines, mopes and desperately yearns for the man she fell for back home – who we only caught five minutes of during the prologue, making Finch's role one-dimensional and severely limited.

During that first night, after meeting the Brits and an untrusting servant/butler (foreshadowing Mercedes McCambridge, the controlling sister in GIANT, and also reminiscent of a character in the extremely similar REBECCA), her only bright spot is our man of the hour, Dana Andrews, who managed the plant while the boss was away...
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Both share an initial conversation so overly flirtatious that, later on, they never quite gain momentum for a windswept romance, or for that to be unique or surprising...

Soon enough, Finch gets injured, and, in bed for two weeks, Andrews and Taylor partially-bond outside, riding horses against the lovely exterior of hilly regions, tall trees and a giant Sleepy Buddha statue.
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
The best scenes involve Taylor's mounting fear of not only the elephants outside, but a morbid curiosity about the plantation's founder: her husband's deceased father, known as either The Governor or The Master, buried at the foot of the backyard anti-Elephant wall in a bizarre, godlike fashion.

Meanwhile, the suspense is palpable as she realizes the dead Master's phantom grip has altered her husband's aura, making Andrews the sole logical idealist. Sadly though, his part could have been played by anyone who looked dapper in a suit. Finch is a jerk who roars like a lion just to cry like a kitten. Leaving only Taylor with any genuine layers.
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Peter Finch and Dana Andrews in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews in ELEPHANT WALK
Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews in ELEPHANT WALK
Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
Peter Finch in ELEPHANT WALK
The exteriors of ELEPHANT WALK
Dana Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK with Peter Finch
Dana Andrews in ELEPHANT WALK
Elizabeth Taylor in ELEPHANT WALK
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