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In 1944, in South Pacific, the castaway Marine Corporal Allison drifts in a raft to the Tuasiva Island, where he meets Sister Angela. She tells him that she is the only person in the island and was left behind by the runaway boat to Fiji Island while seeking the local priest. Stranded in the island, but with water, fish and fruits, their paradisiacal life ends when the Japanese arrive to build a base, forcing Allison and the nun to hide in a cave. The crude marine provides the necessary supply for their survival and falls in love for the nun. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The script called for several Japanese-speaking officers and a company of Japanese troops to be on the island. There were no Japanese men on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where the film was shot. A half-dozen who spoke the language were finally found in a Japanese emigrant community in Brazil and flown to the location to play the officers. For the non-speaking roles of Japanese troops, the company hired 50 Chinese who worked in the island's restaurants and laundries. This caused friction with the local islanders, who found it difficult if not impossible to get their clothes cleaned or to get a meal in a restaurant because most of the employees were working on the film. See more »
While in the cave during the Navy shelling, Allison says the four Japanese 105's are "hid real good". In fact, as is clear when Allison takes action against the "big rifles," they are quite exposed, without overhead protection, and would be highly vulnerable to the shelling, although hard to see from aircraft due to the camouflage netting (which had been blown away at one site). The Navy would have concentrated its preparatory fire on the landing beach, where the 105's were, although there would have been no assurance all could have been knocked out. See more »
It Might Be Paradise If It Wasn't For The Japanese
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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