At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991)

R | 186 mins | Drama | 6 December 1991

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HISTORY

The bid to turn Peter Matthiessen’s novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, into a feature film began before the book was published. On 29 Sep 1965, Var announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) had purchased rights to the novel “from the galleys.” An article in the Jul 1991 issue of Esquire magazine indicated that Matthiessen received $250,000 for the property, which MGM assigned to producer Stuart Millar, according to a 7 Feb 1966 HR news item. Esquire recounted Millar’s desire to attract “the right director for the job”: Arthur Penn, David Lean, Stuart Rosenberg, Bryan Forbes, and John Huston were all considered, but each passed on the opportunity. In the meantime, writer Robert Dozier had prepared a script, MGM had approved a $5 million budget, and actor Paul Newman had expressed interest in starring as “Lewis Moon.” However, in 1969, MGM reduced the approved budget to $2 million, and one year later, informed Millar that the studio was “no longer interested” in making the film. MGM offered the producer the chance to buy the rights to the property for $500,000, but Millar decided to “walk away” from the project.
       Paul Newman had not lost interest in the role of “Moon,” and, in the early 1970s, talked with director Richard Brooks and writer Stewart Stern about adapting Matthiessen’s novel into a motion picture. However, the actor’s various film commitments prevented any serious development of a project on his behalf. Hollywood agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar told Esquire that actors Gregory Peck and Kirk Douglas were also keen to star in the film, but MGM, which still owned ... More Less

The bid to turn Peter Matthiessen’s novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, into a feature film began before the book was published. On 29 Sep 1965, Var announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) had purchased rights to the novel “from the galleys.” An article in the Jul 1991 issue of Esquire magazine indicated that Matthiessen received $250,000 for the property, which MGM assigned to producer Stuart Millar, according to a 7 Feb 1966 HR news item. Esquire recounted Millar’s desire to attract “the right director for the job”: Arthur Penn, David Lean, Stuart Rosenberg, Bryan Forbes, and John Huston were all considered, but each passed on the opportunity. In the meantime, writer Robert Dozier had prepared a script, MGM had approved a $5 million budget, and actor Paul Newman had expressed interest in starring as “Lewis Moon.” However, in 1969, MGM reduced the approved budget to $2 million, and one year later, informed Millar that the studio was “no longer interested” in making the film. MGM offered the producer the chance to buy the rights to the property for $500,000, but Millar decided to “walk away” from the project.
       Paul Newman had not lost interest in the role of “Moon,” and, in the early 1970s, talked with director Richard Brooks and writer Stewart Stern about adapting Matthiessen’s novel into a motion picture. However, the actor’s various film commitments prevented any serious development of a project on his behalf. Hollywood agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar told Esquire that actors Gregory Peck and Kirk Douglas were also keen to star in the film, but MGM, which still owned the property, would neither commit to assembling the necessary producer-director-writer team, nor sell the rights to anyone else. A few years later, a 26 Jan 1977 DV news item announced that Bob Rafelson would produce and direct a “filmization” of At Play in the Fields of the Lord for MGM. Rafelson selected Walter Green to pen the script, and the two men traveled to South America, where they were inspired to make radical changes to the themes and structure of Matthiessen’s novel. On 28 Dec 1977, Var reported that production would be “delayed” due to weather conditions in the jungle. However, it was suggested that MGM was not satisfied with the script. Richard Shepherd, MGM’s head of production, is quoted in Esquire as saying, “We needed an actor. I knew that without an [Al] Pacino or a [Jack] Nicholson it had serious problems.”
       One year later, a 15 Dec 1978 DV news brief stated that writer David Rayfiel (misspelled in DV as “Raphael”) was close to completing a new screenplay for Bob Rafelson (misspelled as “Raphaelson”). However, Rayfiel later recalled that, after delivering his 164-page script, he never heard back from the producer-director. Although a 26 Jan 1979 DV news item mentioned Rafelson’s continuing enthusiasm to make At Play in the Fields of the Lord, by 6 May 1980, DV noted that the picture was “no longer on the MGM skein.”
       Esquire reported that, in 1983, director Taylor Hackford and producer Keith Barish enlisted writer Vincent Patrick to craft a new script, with actor Richard Gere to star as “Moon.” A 13 Dec 1984 DV news brief expected production to begin sometime in 1985, but on 19 Nov 1985, the LADN indicated that shooting had not started. Esquire claimed that, in the meantime, Barish had renegotiated his option agreement with MGM. When the studio decided, yet again, not to proceed with the project, they paid Barish $500,000, much to the surprise of Hackford and Gere. A 31 Jul 1986 DV news item reported that Hackford sued the producer for $17.5 million for “breaching an agreement.” The suit was settled out of court.
       In 1986, after a decade of persistently reminding MGM of his interest in the property, producer Saul Zaentz purchased the rights to At Play in the Fields of the Lord for $1.39 million. A full-page ad in the 14 Oct 1986 issue of HR announced the acquisition. Zaentz had long wanted to make the film with director Milos Forman, as noted by a 10 Nov 1976 Var news brief indicating that At Play in the Fields of the Lord, with a script by Jean-Claude Carriere, would be Forman’s “next project.” However, by the time Zaentz acquired the property, Forman did not feel physically fit to shoot for many months in the jungle, and he bowed out of the project. A 10 Jul 1989 DV article indicated that director Hector Babenco had agreed to direct the $20 million picture, with production tentatively scheduled to begin 26 Mar 1990.
       Although Esquire claimed that Richard Gere wanted the role of “Moon,” and that Patrick Swayze had “auditioned” for the filmmakers, DV announced on 16 Feb 1990 that actors Randy Quaid, Kathy Bates, and Laura Dern would star in the picture. A 7 Apr 1990 Screen International news item clarified that Dennis Quaid was to have played “Moon” opposite Randy Quaid and Ed Harris as the two missionaries. However, by that date, those three actors had either bowed out or been replaced by cast members Tom Berenger, John Lithgow, and Aidan Quinn. A 6 Jun 1990 Var news brief listed actress Daryl Hannah among the cast, and an 18 Nov 1990 article in the LAT later confirmed that she had replaced Laura Dern “two weeks before filming began.” Production notes in AMPAS library files discuss the filmmakers’ reluctance to cast Indians who still lived, according to tradition, in the Amazon rain forest. Concerned about exposing the native people to “Western influences,” Babenco requested that Portuguese-speaking Indians who had “moved to the city” be cast as members of the fictitious Niaruna tribe.
       According to an 11 Jul 1990 Var article, principal photography began 18 Jun 1990 near Belem, Brazil. Scenes were also shot at the world’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls, in Venezuela, and on an American Indian reservation, according to a 19 Aug 1990 NYT article. Three primary sets were constructed: the fictional town of Mae de Deus; the Niaruna roundhouse; and the Catholic mission. Mae de Deus, a “trading outpost,” was built on stilts over an inlet of water, with a long wooden runway to accommodate the vintage airplane flown by “Moon” and “Wolf.” For the “thatch-roofed roundhouse,” local workers cut a circular clearing in the jungle. In the film, aerial shots give the impression that the structure is completely surrounded by the Amazon rain forest, inaccessible to civilization.
       Various contemporary sources reported that production on the $30–$36 million picture lasted a full six months. The Amazon location posed a number of challenges, such as punishing heat; spiders, snakes, and scorpions—which a “reptile wrangler” cleared from the set each day; and intestinal ailments. Additionally, an ever-changing background of animal and industrial noise thwarted the efforts of the sound team, as noted in the NYT.
       On 2 Oct 1991, DV reported that Zaentz was close to making a deal with Universal Pictures to distribute the movie. A 27 Dec 1991 article in the LAWeekly indicated that Universal paid $5 million for the picture. At Play in the Fields of the Lord received a limited release on 6 Dec 1991 to qualify for Academy Award nominations. Reviews in HR and DV on 4 Dec 1991 commended the performances by Aidan Quinn and Tom Berenger, as well as technical contributions in cinematography, production design, and music composition. However, the picture did not garner any AMPAS nominations. In his 16 Dec 1991 New Yorker review, critic Terrence Rafferty called the film “an honest, well-intentioned flop,” lacking in momentum and character development. On 3 Feb 1992, Var announced that the film had “failed to get wide release in the U.S.” Playing primarily in art house theaters, the movie grossed less than $1 million in the two months following its opening. In response to the poor reception, producer Saul Zaentz remained optimistic, with an unwavering commitment to “illuminating the human condition” in future projects.
       The movie concludes with a title card that reads: “Filmed entirely on location in Amazonia.”
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “The producer and director wish to thank: The following Brazilian Indian tribes: Yanomami; Kaiapo; Desano; Karaja; Bororo; Assurini; Xavante; Tukano; Terena; Pataxo; and also: Comissao para Criacao do Parque, Indigena Yanomami; Conselho Nacional do Cinema; Fundacao Nacional do Indio; Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Abiente; Ministerio das Relacoes Exteriores; Museu da Image e Som, Sao Paulo; Dr. Altamiro Boscoli; The Completion Bond Company; Bank of America NT & SA, Century City Commercial Banking.” End credits also include the following statement: “The paperback version of ‘At Play in the Fields of the Lord’ is available from Vintage Books.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 May 1977.
---
Daily Variety
26 Jan 1977.
---
Daily Variety
29 Apr 1977.
---
Daily Variety
15 Dec 1978
p. 48.
Daily Variety
26 Jan 1979.
---
Daily Variety
6 May 1980.
---
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1984.
---
Daily Variety
31 Jul 1986.
---
Daily Variety
10 Jul 1989
p. 1, 12.
Daily Variety
16 Feb 1990.
---
Daily Variety
4 May 1990.
---
Daily Variety
2 Oct 1991
p. 1, 17.
Daily Variety
4 Dec 1991
p. 2, 10.
Esquire
Jul 1991
pp. 111-118.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 1966.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Dec 1991
p. 5, 20.
LA Weekly
27 Dec 1991.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
19 Nov 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Feb 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Mar 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Apr 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Nov 1990
Calendar, pp. 22-28.
Los Angeles Times
6 Dec 1991
p. 1.
New West
Feb 1981
p. 89.
New York Times
19 Aug 1990
Section A, p. 11.
New York Times
6 Dec 1991
Section C, p. 8.
New Yorker
16 Dec 1991.
---
Screen International
24 Feb 1990.
---
Screen International
7 Apr 1990.
---
Screen International
13 Dec 1991.
---
Variety
29 Sep 1965.
---
Variety
10 Nov 1976.
---
Variety
28 Dec 1977
p. 27.
Variety
6 Jun 1990.
---
Variety
13 Jun 1990.
---
Variety
11 Jul 1990.
---
Variety
8 Aug 1990
p. 1, 41.
Variety
9 Dec 1991
p. 74.
Variety
3 Feb 1992
p. 5, 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Saul Zaentz Company Presents
a Hector Babenco film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr - Brazil
2d asst dir - Brazil
2d asst dir - Brazil
2d asst dir - Brazil
3d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit crew
Dir, Aerial unit crew
Asst dir, Aerial unit crew
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Still photog
Cam op, 1st cam crew
Focus puller, 1st cam crew
Cam loader, 1st cam crew
Cam asst, 1st cam crew
Steadicam op, 1st cam crew
Video playback, 1st cam crew
Dir of photog, 2d unit crew
Cam asst, 2d unit crew
Wescam tech, Aerial unit crew
Dir of photog, Aerial unit photog
Cam asst, Aerial unit photog
Best boy
2d key grip
Elec
Generator op
Arriflex cameras and lenses provided by
Cranes and dollies provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst to Clovis Bueno
Art dept prod coord
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed - Brazil
Post prod coord
Negative cutter
All film ed, sd ed and Dolby Stereo mix completed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Prop master
Props buyer - Brazil
Props buyer - United States
Mural painter
Airplane painter
Principal Indian prop maker
Indian prop maker
Indian prop maker
Indian prop maker
Indian prop maker
Indian prop maker
Indian prop maker
Const mgr
Const mgr
Const coord
Painter
Painter
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
American cast cost
Ward supv
Ward supv
Costumer
Ward maintenance
Indian ward maker
Indian ward maker
Indian ward maker
Indian ward maker
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Assoc mus ed
Asst mus ed
Asst mus ed
Orch cond by
Orchestral mus performed by
Mus rec eng - Poland
Mus rec eng - Poland
Indigenous mus prod by
Indigenous mus prod by
Vocal solos
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
SOUND
Boom op
Sd asst
Supv sd ed
Supv rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Apprentice dial ed
ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Apprentice sd eff
Apprentice sd eff
Foley artist
Foley artist
Supv Foley ed
Foley ed
Asst Foley ed
Asst Foley ed
Apprentice Foley
Foley mixer
Foley rec
Loop group coord
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
Loop group
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Process compositing by
Spec eff services provided by
Rear screen projection filmed at
Opt eff and titles by
Title des by
DANCE
Indian choreog/Movement
MAKEUP
Makeup and hair des
Hair & makeup artist
Asst hair & makeup
Asst hair & makeup
Asst hair & makeup
Tom Berenger's hair & makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
United States casting
Brazil casting
Brazil casting
Asst casting United States
Asst casting Brazil
Asst casting Brazil
Asst casting Brazil
Asst casting Brazil
Extras casting
Extras casting
Unit mgr
Unit mgr
Unit mgr
Asst unit mgr
Asst unit mgr
Prod office mgr
Prod coord
Transport & customs coord
Asst to the producer
Financial controller
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Public relations U.S.
Niilo Kivirinta coach
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Indian research
Missionary research
Unit mgr, Aerial unit crew
Asst unit mgr, Aerial unit crew
Prod asst, Aerial unit crew
Air/Ground coord - Brazil, Aerial unit crew
Air/Ground coord - Venezuela, Aerial unit crew
Pilot, Aerial unit crew
Pilot, Aerial unit crew
Pilot, Aerial unit crew
Flight mechanic, Aerial unit crew
Flight mechanic, Aerial unit crew
Parachutist jumps performed by, Aerial unit photog
Parachutist jumps performed by, Aerial unit photog
Parachutist jumps performed by, Aerial unit photog
Helmet cam jumps by, Aerial unit photog
Air/Ground coord, Aerial unit photog
Prod asst
Prod asst
Indian acting coord
Prod asst - Indian actors
Niaruna language creator
Prod anthropologist
Prod advisor
Prod nurse
Prod nurse
Prod nurse
Reptile wrangler
Animal handler
Animal handler
Animal caretaker
Craft services
Transportation capt
Transportation asst
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
The Saul Zaentz Film Center staff
U.S. prod services
U.S. prod services
U.S. prod services
Locs equipped by
STAND INS
Tom Berenger, Stand-in
John Lithgow, Stand-in
Daryl Hannah, Stand-in
Aidan Quinn, Stand-in
Kathy Bates, Stand-in
Tom Waits, Stand-in
Niilo Kivirinta, Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen (New York, 1965).
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 December 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 6 December 1991
New York opening: week of 6 December 1991
Production Date:
18 June--early December 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Saul Zaentz Company
Copyright Date:
24 August 1992
Copyright Number:
PA582932
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by Deluxe Laboratories, Inc.
Duration(in mins):
186
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31490
SYNOPSIS

In the 1960s, two American adventurers, Lewis Moon and “Wolf,” are forced to land their airplane in Mae de Deus, a remote Amazonian settlement, when they run out of gas. Commandante Guzman, the local policeman, will not approve their travel papers, and the men take respite at a bar. Wolf introduces himself to Leslie and Andy Huben, two American missionaries, but the virtuous couple dismiss him. Leslie and Andy continue on their way to welcome new missionaries, Martin and Hazel Quarrier, and their young son, Billy, to Mae de Deus. As they walk to the hotel, Leslie rhapsodizes about his work converting the Indians to Christianity, while Hazel reveals her prejudice against the impoverished conditions. Martin is concerned when he hears that Commandante Guzman wants to drive the Niaruna off the land so it can be mined for profit. That night, Martin tells his son a story about traditional Indian spirits, much to Hazel’s disapproval. The next day, with the intent of frightening the Indians, Guzman asks Moon and Wolf to bomb a Niaruna village. Moon agrees. That night at the bar, Moon offers Martin Quarrier some “ayahuasca,” a medicinal Indian drink known to cause hallucinations. Martin warns Moon that the beverage could be lethal, before attempting to impress him with comparisons of South and North American native peoples. Moon, who is part Cheyenne, takes offense at the religious man’s ideas, and asks what right Christians have to change the customs and beliefs of the Niaruna. Aware of Moon’s plans to bomb the tribe, Martin calls him a coward. Wolf interrupts the argument and tells Martin a grisly story about how the Niaruna killed a Catholic priest, causing the ... +


In the 1960s, two American adventurers, Lewis Moon and “Wolf,” are forced to land their airplane in Mae de Deus, a remote Amazonian settlement, when they run out of gas. Commandante Guzman, the local policeman, will not approve their travel papers, and the men take respite at a bar. Wolf introduces himself to Leslie and Andy Huben, two American missionaries, but the virtuous couple dismiss him. Leslie and Andy continue on their way to welcome new missionaries, Martin and Hazel Quarrier, and their young son, Billy, to Mae de Deus. As they walk to the hotel, Leslie rhapsodizes about his work converting the Indians to Christianity, while Hazel reveals her prejudice against the impoverished conditions. Martin is concerned when he hears that Commandante Guzman wants to drive the Niaruna off the land so it can be mined for profit. That night, Martin tells his son a story about traditional Indian spirits, much to Hazel’s disapproval. The next day, with the intent of frightening the Indians, Guzman asks Moon and Wolf to bomb a Niaruna village. Moon agrees. That night at the bar, Moon offers Martin Quarrier some “ayahuasca,” a medicinal Indian drink known to cause hallucinations. Martin warns Moon that the beverage could be lethal, before attempting to impress him with comparisons of South and North American native peoples. Moon, who is part Cheyenne, takes offense at the religious man’s ideas, and asks what right Christians have to change the customs and beliefs of the Niaruna. Aware of Moon’s plans to bomb the tribe, Martin calls him a coward. Wolf interrupts the argument and tells Martin a grisly story about how the Niaruna killed a Catholic priest, causing the Catholic brethren to abandon their missionary outpost. Only the meek Father Xantes survived. A day or two later, Moon and Wolf fly over the Amazon. They see a round, open-roofed structure in the middle of the forest, and swoop closer to investigate. The Niaruna shoot arrows at the airplane, and Moon flies back to Mae de Deus without dropping the bombs, angering Wolf. That night, Moon drinks ayahuasca and experiences a spiritual call to join the Niaruna. He leaves at dawn in his aircraft, and parachutes over the roundhouse into the jungle, where he strips off his clothes and walks toward the sound of the village. Having heard the explosion of the abandoned airplane, some Niaruna men regard Moon as the god of thunder. However, others are suspicious. Moon does not understand their language but manages to communicate that he means no harm. The Indians offer him food and allow him to rest. Later, they conduct a ceremony, welcoming Moon to the tribe. Meanwhile, the Hubens and Quarriers pack a riverboat with supplies, and leave Mae de Deus en route to the Catholic mission located deep in the jungle. Martin is surprised at the decision to use the site as their evangelical outpost, but Leslie reasons that it will show they do not fear the Niaruna. However, when they arrive, they find the buildings destroyed and uninhabitable. As the missionaries rebuild the camp, a rift develops between Martin and Leslie: Martin thinks offering gifts to the Indians in exchange for religious belief is bribery, but Leslie mocks the criticism. When a tribe visits the outpost, Leslie is dismayed to see them clinging to statues of Catholic saints. However, young Billy Quarrier delights in playing with the Indian children, who paint his face with mud and invoke his animal spirit. The Hubens leave the next morning, leaving the Quarriers to convert the natives. In the ensuing weeks, Martin and Hazel encourage the Indians to adopt Western customs such as baptism, wearing clothes, and taking photographs. One day, Hazel discovers Billy watching an intimate encounter between two young natives, and becomes outraged. Martin reprimands his intolerant wife, but their argument is cut short by the arrival of the Niaruna. The missionaries offer food and gifts to the Indians, who have yet to be converted. However, when one of the Niaruna accidentally cuts Martin with a knife, drawing blood, the tribe runs back into the jungle. When the Niaruna arrive at the roundhouse, Moon disapproves of the gifts. When a young Indian encourages Moon to unite the forest tribes and fight against the white man, Moon admits it is a good idea. Back at the mission, Billy dies from complications of malaria. Leslie Hubens returns to proselytize at the boy’s burial, which the Niaruna watch from the edge of the forest. However, the evangelist is shocked when Martin professes a break with his faith in God, and allows the Indians to conduct a traditional death ceremony under the influence of ayahuasca. The next morning, the tribe announces that Leslie caused Billy’s death. They threaten him, and he flees to Mae de Deus. There, Commandante Guzman declares the missionaries’ attempts to pacify the Niaruna a failure, and suggests more extreme measures. Unaware that Guzman was monitoring their activities, Andy feels betrayed by her husband. She goes to the Catholic church to speak with Father Xantes, who offers consolation. Meanwhile, Hazel Quarrier becomes moody and irrational following Billy’s death. The Hubens return to the mission to help the Quarriers start over. One afternoon, Andy goes skinny-dipping. When Moon, looking like a native, steps out from behind the trees, she is speechless. He kisses her passionately, unaware she has the flu. Moon returns to the roundhouse and has sex with his Niarunan wife, who becomes gravely ill a few days later. Another Amazonian tribe visits the Niaruna and blames the missionaries for sickness among the native peoples. They want to fight, but Moon suggests the white men may have medicine. When the Niaruna confront the Hubens and Quarriers at the mission, Martin accuses Lewis Moon of working against the evangelists’ efforts. Moon requests medicine, but just then, Hazel, deranged and naked, causes a scene. Disgusted, the Niaruna return to the forest. Andy offers Moon a box of medicine, which he accepts without thanks. After Moon’s departure, Leslie demands to know how his wife’s illness was transmitted to the tribe. However, they set aside their quarrel when the Catholic priest visits with news that Guzman intends to bomb the Niaruna. Father Xantes suggests asking Moon to talk the Indians into leaving their land. After sending Hazel back to Mae de Deus with Andy, Martin treks through the jungle to the Niaruna roundhouse, where Moon shows him the natives are too sick to relocate. Horrified to see the Niaruna worshipping Moon like a god, Martin questions his purpose as a missionary. In the morning, a helicopter bombs the village, and the Niaruna ask Moon to save them. Amidst the chaos, Martin is killed by an Indian who once worked for the Hubens. Although Moon shows mercy by allowing Martin’s attacker to run free, he kills the Niaruna chief when the native threatens his life. Sometime later, Leslie and Andy Hubens decide to abandon their missionary work. Moon, however, remains in the Amazon, still in search of his identity. +

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