An American missionary and his wife travel to the exotic island kingdom of Hawaii, intent on converting the natives. But the clash between the two cultures is too great and instead of understanding there comes tragedy.
George Roy Hill
Max von Sydow,
Millionaire Victor Danemore, living on the French Riviera, dies suddenly of a heart attack. His secretary, Dave Bishop, wants to know more about his employer's life. Surprisingly, not even his young wife knows anything about her husband's background or how he earned his fortune. Clues lead Bishop to Vienna and Stockholm, where he learns that Danemore was black-mailing people who cooperated with the Nazis during WW2. Written by
I first saw this film as a young boy, and then for years it could not be seen on television, or for that mater anywhere else. I saw the film for the last time in the early 70's, until it was released again early again in this century.
Others have gone into the plot of this film, and I will not do that. What is interesting for me is that the plot of the story is interesting, and it has one of the most unusual ending of any film made in the 1950's. Also while some have criticized Mitchums performance and if he is walking through this film, I think he plays it just right, a man of cool. Ela Fitzgerald once commented that she liked the way Mitchum walked. During the open sequence we see him, I am sure she is referring to this film. Watching him, you realize that if the opportunity had come, and he had wanted to, he could have been the American equivalent to James Bond. Perhaps he could have played the character that Dean Martin would play of Matt Helm, and in films that would have been more in keeping with the books. He really carries this film. His performance reminds me a little of the character he played in OUT OF THE PAST, a wiser Jeff Bailey perhaps.
I see parallels with MR. ARKADIN and THE THIRD MAN, it really tries to be the latter, though does not succeed. It does have the classic look of the film noir, darkness with light shinning through certain areas of the frame, unusual for a color film of the time, and can be quite enjoyable to watch. Also the traces of the Noir film come immediately through when he informs his employers sexy young wife that she now has to become the grieving widow.
Eastman color, while cheaper than the original Technicolor, does have a tendency to fade over time. When I first saw this film in color, it was rather gorgeous to look at. Perhaps the comment about the horrible Eastman color is due to the fading of these prints.
If you liked Robert Mitchum in other films, I highly recommend this film just to see him. Without him the film would not be worth seeing at all.
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