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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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TV Guide review

Gone to Earth (1950)
aka The Wild Heart (edited from Gone to Earth)

A rare misfire from the normally reliable team of Powell and Pressburger (The Red Shoes), this 1890s British-based film was taken from a fair novel and only barely came up to the novel's standards, despite an excellent and lively turn by Jones in the lead. She is an innocent Shropshire lass who lives in the country and takes care of various little animals in the woods. She is especially devoted to her pet fox, a cute critter, and her main goal in life seems to be rescuing the innocents of the forest from the shotguns, and slings and arrows of outrageous hunters searching for trophies. Farrar is the local landowner and he would love to marry Jones, but she marries clergyman Cusack instead. Cusack is a pleasant chap but has no sexual interest in his comely wife, something that causes the curvy Jones a great deal of frustration. This being the case, she takes up with Farrar, who satisfies her lust but, as it turns out, is cruel to animals, specifically her fox. She returns to husband Cusack who, while not being particularly virile, does have a sympathetic nature toward her pet. Farrar leads a hunt to find the fox and kill it, so Jones tries to get the pet before the squire does. In doing so, she dies when she falls down a long, dark mine shaft. Not believable on any level, the movie came in at 110 minutes in the British version, then was recut by Selznick for the US. He added some scenes, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, plus narration by Joseph Cotten in a vain attempt to make some sense out of the mish-mash story. The Wild Heart was filmed near the Welsh border with additional scenes done in Hollywood. Two tasteful men, Selznick and Alexander Korda, financed the project, and their participation plus that of Powell and Pressburger should have insured that this film had some merit. It has very little.

[Of course others may say that the editing and additional scenes shot for Selznick totally ruined a good film, over explaining and missing some essential scenes (such as hearing the fairy music at the Devils's chair)]

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