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The Roots of Heaven

The Roots of Heaven(1958)

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The film ends with the following written acknowledgment: "For the kind assistance they have rendered in the production of the picture we thank the High Commission of the French Republic in French Equatorial Africa, the High Commission in the Cameroons, the Tchad Government, the Ozbangui Government, the Forestry and Games Department, the General Government of the Belgian Congo and also the Management of the National Parks in the Belgian Congo."
       Romain Gary, co-screenwriter and author of the novel on which the film was based, served as the French Consul General in Los Angeles during the 1950s. Location filming took place in French Equatorial Africa from mid-March until mid-May 1958. While interiors were filmed at the Studios de Boulogne in Paris, France, an August 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that associate producer Robert Jacks spent a year in French Equatorial Africa and France to prepare for filming.
       According to John Huston's autobiography and to an October 1958 Newsweek article, the extreme temperatures and primitive conditions of filming in remote parts of Africa caused health problems for much of the cast. Juliette Greco contracted a rare blood disease, Eddie Albert suffered from sunstroke and many other cast members were victims of heat prostration, malaria and sunstroke. Upon returning to Paris to film interiors, Darryl Zanuck and Errol Flynn were hospitalized. According to Huston's autobiography, Zanuck insisted that Greco play the female lead. Huston also stated that exteriors were filmed at the forest of Fontainebleau outside of Paris.