The Beachcomber (1954)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  10 August 1954 (UK)
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Mr. Gray is the new Resident in Charge of the Welcome Islands in the Indian Ocean. The Islands are full of life, but the only other Europeans are the "sanctimonious, psalm-singing" ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Martha Jones
Edward 'Honorable Ted' Wilson
Ewart Gray
Paul Rogers ...
Rev. Owen Jones
Walter Crisham ...
The Headman
Auric Lorand ...
Alfred, Major Domo
Tony Quinn ...
Ship Captain
Ah Chong Choy ...
Wang the Barkeep
Ronald Lewis ...
Headman's Son
Jeanne Roland ...
Amao (as Jean Rollins)
Lizabeth Rollins ...
Girl at Maputiti
Michael Mellinger ...
Medical Orderly


Mr. Gray is the new Resident in Charge of the Welcome Islands in the Indian Ocean. The Islands are full of life, but the only other Europeans are the "sanctimonious, psalm-singing" brother-sister missionary team of Martha and Owen Jordans, and the Honourable Ted - a hard-drinking, womanizing social outcast whose English family pays him to stay away. Martha and Ted become an unlikely team when cholera threatens the islands and they must do their best to stop its spread. Written by A.L.Beneteau <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


W. Somerset Maugham's Trouble-Making Love-Making Tramp of the Tropics See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 August 1954 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Le vagabond des îles  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Remake of The Beachcomber (1938) See more »


All Things Bright and Beautiful
Music by William H. Monk and lyrics by Cecil F. Alexander
Performed by Martha Jones and the children
See more »

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User Reviews

Pleasant, nostalgic film
17 September 2001 | by (Melbourne) – See all my reviews

I watched this movie late at night for Donald Pleasance. I was disappointed by his rather small role, but felt myself strangely intrigued by this romantic romp.

The movie follows drunkard English emigre, 'the honorable Ted', who insists upon getting himself into numerous brawls and disturbances around the island. He comes into contact with the recently appointed governor, who despite being compelled to punish him, soon becomes his good friend. Ted is given considerable contempt for his 'wicked ways' by the local missionaries, a priest and his sister, Ms. Jordan. During the film, there is a gradual convalescence of Ms. Jordan from a fundamental Christian ("Oh, Lord, protect me from the onslaughts of the Unbelievers and their wickedness" she says whilst stranded on the island alone with Ted and a couple of natives) to an understanding, approachable sort.

This change takes place when Ted must sail her back from one of the outlying islands. Despite his rugged appearance, she begins to develop affection for his urbane and nurturing nature, being particularly surprised at his chivalry for not compromising her virtue whilst she they were alone on the island!

Later arrested for further drunkenness, Ted is promised a pardon if he travels with Ms. Jordan to another island to help contain an outbreak of cholera. He reluctantly agrees, but later comes to deeply admire her committal to the safety and health of the natives. The films ends happily with their marriage.

Donald Pleasance is relegated to the unglamorous role of an island native coolie; given the stereotypical boot-polishing and brimmed spectacles of a Western actor attempting an non-western character. He acts proficiently though as the Governor's adjutant, resplendent in imperial white, always loudly organizing his fellow servants as the fade out is about to occur.

The film is surprising relaxed about the formalities of colonization, indeed the colonial administrator is portrayed with much humility in his concern at the outbreak of disease. The film is above all a romance, with Ms. Jordan gradually stripping of her prejudicial conscience, and moments of comedy thrown in by Ted and inadvertently by the machinations of the 50's stereotyping of native islander culture.

Any deep analysis, I think, may destroy the intentions of this film, which is a half-hearted romance/comedy with some humanitarianism thrown in for good measure. Feels like 'The African Queen'!

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