The Mosquito Coast

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Name: The Mosquito Coast (most fans referred to it simply as "Mosquito Coast")
Abbreviation(s):
Creator:
Date(s): 1986
Medium: film
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: The Mosquito Coast at Wikipedia
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The Mosquito Coast is a 1986 film starring Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix, and others.

It was remade in 2021.

Brief Summary

"The Mosquito Coast" is about a family that leaves the United States and tries to find a happier and simpler life and paradise in the jungles of Central America. Their decision, made by Allie Fox (portrayed by Harrison Ford), turns out to be a terrible one, as Fox's behavior becomes increasingly erratic and aggressive.

Fandom

The general fandom for the film is almost non-existent, possibly due to its downbeat message and mixed critical reception.

There aren't any fanworks listed for it on Archive of Our Own.

Some fans, however, created fanworks for "The Mosquito Coast" due to their interest in Harrison Ford. These fanworks resided in print zines.

Fanworks

Fanfiction

Miscellaneous

Filks and Original Music

Fan Art

Fan Comments

1986 Before the Movie's Release

I've heard a rumor that some fans are so upset about HF doing MOSQUITO COAST they've actually written asking that Harrison reconsider. Now that really upset me. We should be so grateful that he's actually going to participate in such a prestigious project - Zaentz, Weir, Schrader and Theroux are not just any old movie makers - and not just twiddle his thumbs until Indy 3. So what if MC isn't a fan-pleasing blockbuster! I know it'll be interesting and probably different; it can't be anything but good. Besides who would have thought WITNESS would be so successful at the box office? It's all a crap shoot anyway; so as long as he's happy about it, it's none of their business... I can't imagine how anyone can call themselves a fan and then question any project that he wants to do. He's said he doesn't "have to do a damn thing" so anything is a bonus as far as I'm concerned. I'm so afraid he'll get involved in the ranch or some other interest and just forget about acting altogether. [1]

MOSQUITO COAST! This movie is going to provide Ford fans with late night conversation for years to come and make the phone company very happy! What a tour-de-force for Harrison. I am so ambivalent about this though. He has to make this movie, if only to show the industry that WITNESS was not a fluke. If he did another Indy right after WITNESS, the mouths in Hollywood would have had a field day. But MOSQUITO COAST is so different from anything he has ever done, so out of character that when this premieres and he is a smash, then no one will ever say HarrisonFordHanSoloIndianaJones in one breath again. He will be brilliant. The character of Allie Fox has got to be charming, charismatic, and we all know how charming and charismatic Harrison can be, but he has to be outrageous and flamboyant and moody and depressed in this as well. In fact it is going to require everything he has to convince us that the family and others would follow this man into the jungle. It's going to be powerful, dramatic and gut-wrenching acting on his part, and I for one can't wait! On the other hand, and my only misgivings is my personal reaction. Harrison is the most considerate, gentlest, nicest person that I would love to know better, and the character of Allie Fox is semi-depressive, inconsiderate, cruel monster. It is going to hurt to see Harrison do and say some of the scenes in the book. But who knows? Peter knows Harrison's strengths and weaknesses and he will use these, selecting the key scenes to move the story along, but still show Harrison at his best. By the time he and Harrison finish conferring and working on the screenplay and script, the character may not come off as in the book...The ending is going to demolish me! I know he has to die in the end or the rest of the movie won't work, but I just hope that Peter tones it down.

I plan to bring a box tissues to the theater as it is, but if they do it true to the book, I'll be a basket case! [2]

A friend at work told me she had to stop reading MC because of the way Allie treated his kids. This lady is 40, has three kids, and is a certified film buff, and does enjoy HF's films. All of the other people's also, but she said she could see HF in the role, but felt she could not handle reading how Allie treated the kids. HF has the rep as being wonderful with kids, his own and those he acts with and that person that, commented to you about HF not being able to handle the role may be thinking he can't be Allie here because he's HF.

Hell, he won't be HF in the film. He'll be Allie Fox and I would go to see him do a different role. [3]
How about that MOSQUITO COAST, eh? Phew! What a strange story. LORD OF THE FLIES meets SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON is right. I can't wait to see what Harrison does with the role. It's going to be difficult, but I think he and Weir can pull it off. Weir is great at evoking unusual emotional atmospheres, and Fox (I hate to say this) is right up Harrison's alley. What a challenge. (I've always wanted to see him play a weirdo or lowlife, and this is surely that). MOSQUITO COAST, if it's good, will be the public proof—of—the—pudding that WITNESS wasn't just a fluke. It's also going to be a quadruple somersault attempt with no safety nets. WITNESS set the stage, but this one will be the real turning point, career—wise. I have no doubts they'll do it right, but let's keep our fingers crossed. We love ya, Harri. Go for it! [4]
I hope MOSQUITO COAST gets off the ground but don't want Harrison to be tied up so long as he no doubt will. As you know, I dread his being good in that role. [5]
Guess MOSQUITO COAST is about ready to begin filming. I'll look forward to reports on that in upcoming RGs, even though I'm less than thrilled about MC. After reading the book can't picture it being translated to the screen — and it is so depressing. Am sure Ford and Weir will pull it off somehow — they always do. Apparently, MC is one of those things you either hate or love — no middle ground — from what I've gathered in chatting with others about it. [6]

I think MC WILL translate to the screen, maybe a little too well. Everything depends on the script viewpoint. All of Ford's films have

characterized him as a hero except THE CONVERSATION, and possibly AMERICAN GRAFFITI. His characters Han Solo and Indiana Jones are very strong hero types and according to Rogue's survey, the most popular. Ford's hero image on screen and off is very strong. Fans might be reluctant to "love" his Allie Fox MC character because HF will not be a hero in MC, a new fan experience for many. Have found few people willing to say they love a "villain", especially the neurotic type like Allie Fox. I will wait until I see the movie before I make a lasting judgement but think this will be the first Ford character I will love to hate. [7]

I couldn't help but notice that several fans expressed certain misgivings about HF's latest role. I have to admit I have a few misgivings myself. This reminds me of the disappointment expressed by some moviegoers after they saw BLADE RUNNER. It seems they expected to see another Indiana Jones, and were a bit upset to find a character which was a little less than a hero. I thought that BLADE RUNNER was an excellent film, and HF's acting was superb, an excellent showcase of his talent. As for MOSQUITO COAST, some people may be expecting another John Book [in Witness], and again they will be disappointed.

Personally, I put Allie Fox in the same class as Rick Deckard [in Blade Runner]. Both are fairly depressing characters, at least in my opinion, and neither are "hero" types, but Allie is really the closest HF has come to playing a despicable character since Martin Stett [in The Conversation]. I'm really looking forward to seeing MC. I think it will do a lot for HF's career (probably as much as WITNESS did), and I think everyone will see exactly how much acting range he has. After seeing what the Ford-Weir combination came up with in WITNESS, there is no reason to expect anything different in MC. If HF does what he usually does by putting a little of himself into the character, I think everyone will applaud his performance. [8]
Last summer I read MC with a mixture of trepidation and reservation, but upon reflection I feel that this is one of the finest roles (at this time) opened to Harrison. This character has so many interesting facets to him, and for Harrison to breathe life into this guy is going to take all of his talents as an actor. At first, I felt that MC was a type of book that was unfilmable, or at the very least, the type of book that would translate poorly to the screen. But after seeing what Spielberg did with TCP (especially after reading Alice Walker's book!), more than ever I feel that Peter Weir (with a little help) will transfer MC effectively into a taunt, moving, touching film that will bring tears of joy and sorrow to all of us. I can't wait to see MC! It will prove beyond doubt Harrison's true talent and showcase him as one of the best actors of these times. [9]
Several fans have been writing to me about the large amount of coverage already for the film MOSQUITO COAST have wondered why. That is because MOSQUITO COAST has the same director, Peter Weir, and the same lead actor, Harrison Ford, as the 1985 Oscar nominee film WITNESS. For those who have wondered if they will like this film, I believe we had a good hint from the TV interviews that the film will not be exactly like the book, although all the important parts of the story will remain. If nothing else, these tiny "peeks" into MC have strengthened my interest, as I'm sure it was meant to do. I am all prepared for another change in character from Mr. Ford, although I do not believe it will be catastrophic. I am very glad that November is three months closer! [10]
I'm hoping that MOSQUITO COAST will bring in a whole new slew of ideas, and therefore more articles!... Don't get me wrong. Have no intentions of saying that MC will not spawn some look-a-like films, but know it would be a shame it it happens that Allie Fox suddenly becomes a new type of Rambo! Heaven forbid. At least MC will not have fans raving about more, more! Have truly begun to hate sequels, prequels, whatever, and you can include all the "remakes" Hollywood has spawned lately. Wonder how the HF fans will take to remakes of Indy films, or worse yet WITNESS? It could happen, I hope not, in my lifetime. [11]

I am not one who has been reassured by the news coming out about MOSQUITO COAST. Oh, I'm anxious to see Harrison again in a new movie and see how he interprets yet another character. But what a character! That's what bothers. I don't have to have a happy ending in every movie—don't think Weir has had what could be called a happy ending in any of his movies...

The Today Show interviews quoted HF saying they couldn't film the book. That's standard, no book can be filmed as is...I didn't like the book anyway, the Allie Fox character chilled me. I worry about making this Allie Fox into some kind of hero, sort of anti-American culture hero that detractors will gleefully "glom" onto. I don't think Allie so much despised American culture (there's plenty about American aspects to complain about), as despising anything but his view of a culture on some other area of the world. In that respect he's just like the missionary in the book, even worse. It was the mother and children who learned the skills from various Hondurans, and, of course, some of the aspects of the several cultures they came in contact with were just as hollow as what Allie railed about. But Allie was not willing to see that he could learn from someone else, as the mother and children did... everyone had to learn from him.

I agree with some people that there are humorous aspects to the book, but to me, there is horror that is to come, lurking behind each bit of humor. As an aside, HF's look on the ET and Today MC [television] specials reminded me and my family of William Hurt. It wasn't at all what I had thought of Allie looking like. Not wild enough [12]
I don't understand why fans should worry over MC and Harrison's role. Aside from needing a box of Kleenex, it's wonderful Harrison can do other types of roles. I look forward to his changing characters in different roles and these roles don't always have to uplifting to be enjoyable. Harrison's Rick Deckard character wasn't a very happy one but HF moved me with it and it's the role that made me his fan! I'm not going to enjoy what happens to Allie fox, but I know I'm going to enjoy HF's part in it. [13]

1987

[I just read another fan's story as a] perfect reply to a criticism leveled against THE MOSQUITO COAST time and time again to the point of making me want to scream in frustration. Why, the smug critics asked, did Allie Fox's family go along with him even when it was so obvious that he was not exactly sane? Did these people never stop to consider that it might be because they loved him? My own mum has said that if she were Mother and my pop was Allie, she would have gone with him without question because she loves him and trusts him. So there. [14]
"Mosquito Coast" certainly struck deeply. No one seems blasé about it. That's great! Am sure, in part, that was a goal of both Harrison and Peter. I can't help but think that "Mosquito Coast" was ahead of its time and will be judged in retrospect as a finely-made film. Sometimes, I suppose, it takes some distancing to see the true mastery of something so different, and something unsettling. Regardless of the film's total Impact, Harrison was at his peak. And he gave one tour-de-Ford performance. No one can dispute that. I was glad to hear from the "Today" interview that he was proud of his work in "Mosquito Coast," and proud of the film. And, he was honest enough to add that he was not happy that it didn't do better...and many of us echo that sentiment. So, the BetterIdeaZine is getting better! But then, with this subject it's hard to miss! [15]
The furious argument going on over Homer's piece on "Mosquito Coast" amused me very much. Personally, I think he is wrong in his complete dismissal of the film. I didn't lite the book and only went to see the film because Mr. Ford was in it, but now it's out on video, I find the more I see that film, the more I see in it. [16]

1988

I feel like a personal friend of HF's, even though I know I'll never meet him and he, of course, will never know I exist. I root for each of his films and take it as a personal affront when a critic or an acquaintance does not like a film. "Mosquito Coast" was hard to take because the film was not understood universally. One critic out here actually said the film was chauvinistic because of the way "Mother" was portrayed. Now, I'm a 38-year old female, wife, and it never occurred to me to think the film was anti-women's lib. Oh, well. HF was brilliant. You know, no one picks up on the little scene when Allie confronts the preacher with his hammer in his belt, like a six-shooter. This got a big laugh in the show I was in. The movie got a lot of laughs. [17]
By the way, upon viewing MC for the first, and so far last, time, my teenager's comment: "Well, that wasn't so bad." You see, I was watching for the first time, too, along with her, and she had been hearing how much I thought the book was not film-able. Actually, I (shudder) disliked the book. But I thought that was a great critique. [18]

Meta/Further Reading

References

  1. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #22 (March 1986)
  2. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #22 (March 1986)
  3. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #22 (March 1986)
  4. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #22 (March 1986)
  5. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #22 (March 1986)
  6. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #22 (March 1986)
  7. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #22 (March 1986)
  8. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #23 (June 1986)
  9. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #23 (June 1986)
  10. ^ from a letter of comment in Rogue's Gallery #23 (June 1986)
  11. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #24 (September 1986)
  12. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #24 (September 1986)
  13. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #24 (September 1986)
  14. ^ comments in "Flip of a Coin" #11, about "Blind Alley" in "Flip of a Coin" #10 (February 1987)
  15. ^ from a letter of comment in "Better Idea Zine" #3 (December 1987)
  16. ^ from a letter of comment in "Better Idea Zine" #3 (December 1987)
  17. ^ from a letter of comment in "Better Idea Zine" #5 (June 1998)
  18. ^ from a letter of comment in "Better Idea Zine" #5 (June 1988)