Six Days Seven Nights

The 1998 film Six Days, Seven Nights stars Harrison Ford, Anne Heche and David Schwimmer and was directed by Ivan Reitman.

Principal photography for the film was done over a ten week period in 1997 on the island of Kauai with significant positive impact on the island's economy, to the tune of an estimated 11.2 million dollars.

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A Time Tested Narrative

Kalalau Valley as seen from the Pu`u o K
Photo by John Fischer

Six Days, Seven Nights is another in the long series of Hollywood films in which two seemingly opposite types of people find themselves cast adrift in a remote area, only to find love and happiness.

It is an old Hollywood formula seen best in The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. The formula, however, continues to reappear because, for the most part, it works.

There are those that will argue that Harrison Ford is no Bogart and Anne Heche is no Hepburn, so in many ways a comparison of this film to its most famous predecessors is unfair. Six Days, Seven Nights is a good film, not a great film, but one that makes for a pleasant summer's day diversion. For those who enjoy Hawaii on film, it is a virtual feast for the eyes.

The Plot

The plot of Six Days, Seven Nights is fairly well known. There are no surprises here. Harrison Ford, in a more relaxed role than those of recent years, plays Quinn Harris, a grumpy yet endearing pilot hired by New York magazine editor Robin Monroe (Anne Heche) to transport her and her fiancée, Frank Martin, played by David Schwimmer of Friends fame, to a remote South Pacific island for a week of romance and fun.

Shortly after their arrival, Robin receives a call from her boss, Marjorie, played by Allison Janney, asking that she fly to Tahiti to oversee a photo shoot arranged on a last-minute basis. Agreeing to do so, she again hires Quinn to fly here. While on route they encounter a severe storm and are forced to crash land on an uninhabited island where the big adventure begins.

On the island they encounter animals, reptiles, insects, and even modern-day pirates. For fans of the Indiana Jones' movies, there is a very amusing scene where Quinn is faced with the dilemma of actually having to handle a snake. (We all recall how much Indiana Jones hated snakes.) As they spend their evenings together under the beautiful stars of the South Pacific and their days hiking or running across the lush island terrain, a close relationship develops between Quinn and Robin.

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Harrison Ford and Ann Heche

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to

Harrison Ford as Quinn Harris

Once again Harrison Ford plays that type of man who any woman would find hard to resist. Quinn Harris is like a intelligent Han Solo with an Indiana Jones' sprit and the allure of the post-shooting Henry Turner in Regarding Henry. It is role well suited for Ford and a pleasant change of pace from his more serious roles of recent years.

Ann Heche as Robin Moore

Ann Heche, despite all of the pre-release publicity and questions of how an audience would accept her in a lead heterosexual role, does an overall good job as the female lead here.

As in her previous films she shows that she can star opposite the big stars like Demi Moore (The Juror), Tommy Lee Jones (Volcano) and Robert De Niro (Wag the Dog), and do so quite convincingly.

Physically, however, Heche's very thin physique made it hard to accept that her character was actually able to do some of the things portrayed in the film.

David Schwimmer as Frank Martin

The sub-plot involving Robin's fiancee, Frank Martin, played by David Schwimmer and his involvement with Quinn's girlfriend, Angelica, played by Jacqueline Obradors is the weakest element of the story here.

It seems in many ways only to exist to set up a final scene in the movie at the airport between Frank and Robin. If the intent of the sub-plot was to provide more comic relief from the scenes of the island with Quinn and Robin, I for one would have preferred more of the island adventure.

Romantic-Comedy or Adventure Film?

Six Days, Seven Nights seems a bit unsure of whether it wants to be a romantic-comedy or an adventure film. Ford has been quoted as saying that he wished that more of the flight scenes and island scenes had been retained in the final cut.

This writer would have preferred that also. The most amusing moments of this film arise between Quinn and Robin when they are faced with dealing with the forces of nature and man that they encounter in the air and on the island. These scenes are far better than the more stiff and forced scenes back at the resort between Frank and Angelica.

The Biggest Star of the Film

A biggest star of this film, however, is the island of Kauai itself.

Filmed on location on The Garden Isle, the cinematography is fantastic, with beautiful shots of the Na Pali Coastline, the Waimea Canyon, the Wailua River Valley and many other places.

At every turn, those of us who appreciate the beauty of Hawaii will find ourselves whispering to our movie companion, "look there's Lihue airport", or "that's the Waimea Canyon". It was not surprising to see this film bring some much needed tourist dollars back to Kauai which was still suffering from the loss of tourism after Hurricane Iniki ripped through the island in 1992.

This review was written in June 1998 shortly after the film's premier.

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