Thursday, 1 March 2018

Karloff's Heart of Darkness

"He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct"... Boris Karloff goes native as Kurtz in the 1958 Playhouse 90 adaptation of Heart of Darkness. Another one of those mind-boggling rarities that turns up on youtube, this one is decidedly lo-fi but worthy of investigation. I've only watched a few moments of it here and there and it looks bizarre indeed. I'm coming at this from an Apocalypse Now angle (rather than Conrad), and it's worth noting that this adaptation was written by Stewart Stern who was the screenwriter for Rebel Without a Cause and The Last Movie, both of which involved Dennis Hopper, and a further connection to Coppola's film. Interesting to imagine what Apocalypse Now might have been like had Martin Sheen's long journey up to the Nung River led to an aging, depleted Boris Karloff (who would have been closer to Conrad's vision of Kurtz than Coppola's) and I do enjoy pondering an alternatively cast Apocalypse Now. Recently, I was hotly debating with some friends, the idea of Steve McQueen playing Willard, and while they flatly disagreed, I think McQueen would have been a better choice than Harvey Keitel or Al Pacino. But I digress... The Playhouse 90 Heart of Darkness can be viewed here: here


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