: : : Mountains of the Moon

Story

How did Bob Rafelson, the director of small-scale American studies such as Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens, find himself helming an old-fashioned adventure story such as Mountains of the Moon? Whatever the reasons, Rafelson invested this 1990 epic with passion and professionalism. The hero is one of the greatest British explorers of the 19th century, Sir Richard Burton (played by Patrick Bergin), a fascinating figure and a man out of time: a modern in the Victorian era. Mountains of the Moon is primarily concerned with Burton's trek into East Africa to discover the source of the Nile, accompanied by fellow adventurer John Hanning Speke (Iain Glen). Rafelson is at least as interested in the tricky psychological jockeying between the two men, as he is in the grueling conventions of the adventure movie, but he delivers well on both counts. The brawny Bergin is sensational in a role that should have made him a star, but didn't (though he had a shot, menacing Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy); the film disappeared quickly. Perhaps audiences were put off by the lack of marquee names and confused by the title, which refers to a piece of African landscape. Providing solid support are Fiona Shaw (another should-have-been star), Richard E. Grant, and Delroy Lindo, as an African warrior. A very satisfying excursion into the National Geographic pith-helmet genre. --Robert Horton

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Dolby
  • Widescreen

Cast

Patrick BerginRichard Francis Burton
Iain GlenJohn Hanning Speke
Richard E. GrantLarry Oliphant
Fiona ShawIsabel Arundell
Adrian RawlinsEdward
Peter VaughanLord Houghton
Delroy LindoMabruki
Bernard HillDr. David Livingstone
Christopher FulfordHerne
Leslie PhillipsMr. Arundell
Roger Ashton-GriffithsLord Cowley

  • Genre: Adventure Movies
  • Director: Bob Rafelson
  • Producer: Pioneer
  • Length: 140 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaFeb 23, 1990
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaMar 16, 1999
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