Three short stories are introduced by author W. Somerset Maugham in the second of his anthology film trilogy. In "The Verger," a church verger of seventeen years is fired by his new straight-laced vicar when it's discovered that he cannot read or write. Forced to make life-altering decisions, the life-long bachelor proposes to his landlady and becomes an entrepreneur. In "Mr. Know-All" an obnoxiously pushy and irrepressibly boorish dealer in jewelry alienates all his fellow passengers on an ocean cruise despite his cheerful nature and generosity, but later is sensitive enough to realize that sacrificing his ego at a key moment is important to a woman's happiness. "The Sanatorium" revolves around the lives of tuberculosis patients at an exclusive Scottish sanatorium including a pair of doomed lovers who choose quality over quantity of life. Written by
The second of three movies showcasing the short stories of W. Somerset Maugham, "Trio" gives us three more stories, the first two of which are light and frothy things that fairly dance off the screen. The second, "Mr. Know-All," is remarkable for its wonderful humanness. It seems all the characters who must deal with this Passenger from Hell are quite content to suffer the fool gladly; their comments to each other about Mr. Kelada are neither mean nor cruel, only witty and downright philosophical. I enjoyed this story (and its ending, celebrating people at their finest) immensely. The third, and longest, story, "The Sanitorium" failed to reach beyond the grinding melodrama of, say, "The High and the Mighty" -- a bunch of people thrown together show what they're made of. The rather sappy ending didn't help. But your mileage may vary, of course. Luckily, good solid film-making raises this problematic movie higher than it might otherwise have landed.
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