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Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 13 March 1957 (USA)
A marine and a nun form an unlikely friendship. The marine is shipwrecked on a Pacific island and the nun has been left behind there; they find comfort in one another as the two wait out the war.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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In 1944, the castaway Corporal Allison drifts in a raft to Tuasiva Island, where he meets Sister Angela. She tells him that she is the only person on the island, having been left behind when seeking out a priest. The nun and the marine are stranded, but the island offers a bountiful supply of food. However, their paradisiacal life ends when the Japanese arrive to build a base, forcing "Mr." Allison and the nun to hide in a cave. The marine's expertise in such conditions proves to be vital to their survival, and the two grow ever closer. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; jonathanroberts

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They were alone on this Pacific Island... trapped behind enemy lines... the marine who had been thru Hell and Sister Angela with her supreme faith in God.

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

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Approved | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

13 March 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Seemann und die Nonne  »

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Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
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(RCA Sound Recording)| (Westrex Recording System)

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1954 William Wyler was slated to direct and Kirk Douglas was attached to star. A few months later, Wyler and Douglas were out while 20th Century Fox was developing the film for Clark Gable, to be directed by Anthony Mann. See more »

Goofs

When Mitchum is fishing the Japanese patrol boat is powered by what looks like a 1957 era Evinrude outboard. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cpl. Allison, USMC: Let's just keep it quiet, ma'am. You speak English?
Sister Angela: Yes.
Cpl. Allison, USMC: Are there any Japs around?
Sister Angela: You're... You're an American.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 1944 SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC See more »

Connections

References Twelve O'Clock High (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (with Anyone Else but Me)
music by Sam H. Stept, lyrics by Lew Brown & Charles Tobias
performed by Robert Mitchum
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It Might Be Paradise If It Wasn't For The Japanese
10 August 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

One of the great injustices of Hollywood history is the fact that Deborah Kerr was nominated for Best Actress while Robert Mitchum got nary a mention for Best Actor in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. Kerr had several nominations, but never came up a winner. Mitchum was nominated once at the beginning of his career in the Best Supporting Actor category in The Story of GI Joe and then never again.

In Mitchum's case I think that some of his irreverent comments offended a few people. Sometimes Bob was a bit too candid about what he thought of the film industry and his chosen profession. Otherwise he might well have gotten nominations for this, Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear, Ryan's Daughter, The Sundowners, The Friends of Eddie Coyle and a few others.

This film is always and rightly compared to The African Queen with a female in the religious missionary profession and a hell-raising outsider thrown together in war time. The African Queen was in World War I and this film is set on a backwater Pacific island in World War II.

Corporal Allison, USMC arrives on a rubber raft after the Japanese opened fire on a submarine he was on. The only other person on the island is a nun who has seen all the others die or flee the island. It's a small island, but apparently strategically located.

The film is about these two mismatched people thrown together and what they have to do to survive. Deborah Kerr is a nun who hasn't yet taken her final vows and being alone on the island with Mitchum is a temptation no doubt.

Mitchum though has his own code. He's a foundling kid who took the name of Allison because that was the street in Milwaukee he was dropped off on. He was a juvenile delinquent until he joined the Marines and they gave his life a meaning. The Marine Corps manual is his Bible as much as the Scripture is Kerr's.

I can identify with that because in fact I had a cousin who was in the Marines who did in fact straighten him out. He was a hell raising kid in his youth and he became if not a solid citizen after his service, at least a respectable one.

John Huston got unforgettable performances out of his credited cast of two. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison has not dated one single bit since its release.

We all need something to believe in to get us through in this world.


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