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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Ghost and the Darkness (released in 1996) - starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer

How often do you find a movie getting awards both from the Academy awards and also a Razzie award? Well, "The Ghost and the Darkness" is a movie that got both these awards, an Academy award for Sound Editing, as well as a Razzie award (for Val Kilmer for Best Supporting Actor). The movie got critical praise and was well received, although there were some differences between the book (The Man-Eaters Of Tsavo, by J. H. Patterson) and the movie, especially around the character of the hunter, Charles Remington (played by Michael Douglas). The concept is that since Douglas also stepped in to part-produce the movie, he decided to enhance the role of Remington from the original role that was supposed to be much more mysterious. In the process, this also reduced the scope of the character of Col. John Henry Patterson (the hunter who is brought into the project to bring it back to schedule, played by Val Kilmer), given that it was Patterson who killed 3 lions, including the 2 monster ones who killed a large number of workers at the site.

There is some dispute over the number of workers killed by the lions, with Patterson claiming that there were 135 workers killed, while new research claimed that there were around 35 workers killed. The actual lions who were killed by Patterson can now be seen on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, and these are magnificent specimens, worthy of scaring workers.
The movie centers around a railroad project in Tsavo, Africa, where the project is running behind schedule. Col. Patterson is sent to take command of things and reaches the site. There he starts on his mission, killing a lion quickly, but then unable to prevent the lions from killing off the workers one by one. To everybody's surprise, 2 lions attack the camp, and lions never attack in a group, but are single hunters. This is seen as a bad sign. Then a famous hunter Remington is sent in to help, and in the meantime, the workers are not willing to stay. The lions are a tough hunt, especially when they don't fall for a ruse and attack a new hospital, killing all the inmates and the camp doctor. Patterson finally manages to kill one lion, but the other one manages to kill Remington. In a final stand-off, Patterson finally manages to kill the remaining lion, and the bridge gets built.

The Ghost and the Darkness (released in 1996) - starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer

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