Ernest Hemingway could never come to terms with Hollywood's preoccupation with The Happy Ending: he accepted the money for the screen rights to his short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro, but he could never bring himself to watch it. Gregory Peck plays a character based, in decidedly unflattering fashion, on Hemingway crony F. Scott Fitzgerald. While hunting in the African mountains in the company of his faithful lady friend Susan Hayward, Peck is seriously wounded; in fact, it doesn't look as though he'll survive the night. In the few hours he has left, Peck reflects upon what he considers a wasted life. Having aspired to be the Great American Novelist, Peck has only turned out money-making drivel. The only time that he truly felt as though he'd made a contribution to the world was when he fought on the Loyalist side in Spain (this element isn't in the short story, but is drawn from Hemingway's own experiences). As for his lost romance with his late wife Ava Gardner, Peck still cannot figure out what went wrong. The Hemingway original ended with the Peck character dying from his wounds; producer Darryl F. Zanuck wouldn't hear of this, preferring that Peck survive with the resolve to write something of lasting value. The Technicolor location photography of Leon Shamroy and the rumbling musical score of Bernard Herrmann are the main attractions of The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
by Hal Erickson synopsis