By Marya Repko
Hollywood came to Everglades City in 1957 with a star cast to film “Wind Across the Everglades,” the story of plume hunters in the early 1900s.
Burl Ives, Gypsy Rose Lee and Christopher Plummer took leading roles but also playing parts were Emmet Kelly, the clown, and a young Peter Falk.
Local talent included Totch Brown (who sang as a character named One-Note) and Cory and Mary Osceola.
The production team, headed by Budd Schulberg and Nicholas Ray, took over the Rod & Gun Club and changed the Depot into a station in the Miami area. The production also used buildings along Broadway where the tennis courts are now and even created some dummy facades.
The script was written by Schulberg after he met Bud Kirk of Marco Island and learned about the area. The original book, “Across the Everglades,” has a lengthy introduction by Schulberg describing his learning of the Glades and its colorful history.
His previous script for the film “On the Waterfront” won an Academy Award in 1954.
The film was released in 1958 and reviewed in The New York Times September 12 issue. Bosley Crowther wrote:
“Something of the wild natural beauty and the human barbarity that prevailed in the great swamps of Florida 50 years ago is caught in “Wind Across the Everglades” ... Though it happens to be one of the most disordered professional motion pictures we’ve ever seen, it also happens to be unusual, robust and picturesque.”
Come along on Friday to see if you recognize any of the extras in the crowd scenes and to enjoy an old-fashioned movie night hosted by the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation. The film will be shown in the Jinkins Fellowship Hall behind the Everglades Community Church at 5:30 p.m., with free popcorn and soda. The public is welcome.
For more information, call me at 239-695-2905 or see www.evergladeshistorical.org.