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 »
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
There were two reasons why I looked forward to seeing 'The Beachcomber'. They were Robert Newton and Glynis Johns. Newton, off-screen a roisterer in the Richard Burton, Trevor Howard mould gave full-blooded performances in movies like 'Blackbeard the Pirate' and 'Treasure Island' and I loved his outrageous, eye-rolling style. And Glynis Johns has one of those scratchy, sexy voices that I find almost irresistible.
Imagine my disappointment to find Ms Johns playing a pious missionary nurse with a Welsh accent and no opportunity to sound sexy. Mind you she was nothing if not versatile, at one stage performing an appendectomy while later healing an elephant's injured trunk. And Newton, ideally cast as a drunken remittance man (the 'black sheep' of an upper class English family being paid to stay away) is at half power throughout, missing every chance for histrionics.
There's some pleasant location Technicolor photography in the pacific islands and a bar-room brawl hammier than anything john Ford ever choreographed for Messrs. Wayne and McGlagen but the practice of blacking up Donald Pleasance, Ronald Lewis and possibly others to play natives is always offensive.
The plot from usually interesting Somerset Maugham is just the old chestnut about the redemptive power of a good woman's love. Though there is another moral to the story 'an elephant never forgets'
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