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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 director and the explosives expert were reportedly left hanging onto an elevated platform on location - uninjured - after a short-circuit in explosives-effect wiring unexpectedly set off all of some 30 planted detonation devices at one time. See more »
While running to catch the sea turtle, the footbridge across the lagoon is complete. When the Japanese first invade the island half of the footbridge is missing. Later the bridge is complete again. See more »
One of Huston's buried treasures,this offbeat tale of a nun and a marine stuck on an island.They say it was to be directed by Wyler,but he turned it down and went to make "desperate hours".
Deborah Kerr had already played a nun in Powell-Pressburger's excellent "Black narcissus",and the part was tailor-made for her.The same goes for Robert Mitchum as a crude,simple,but with a golden heart marine.People cannot help but be struck with the analogies between "heaven" and "African queen" :both feature an odd couple,in jeopardy;that's why the former is overlooked today which is totally unfair.
The two characters are extremely endearing and,when the movie is over,it seems we've always known Sister Angela and Corporal Allison.I dig the line:"it's a gourmet's dish" when the nun is eating turtle soup.I love the way the scenarists show the analogies between a nun's and a marine's lives.The Garden of Eden metaphor is obvious,but the story subtly progresses,and the Snake's temptation happens late in the movie.
The cinematography is splendid,with a superb use of cinemascope,and Georges Delerue's score deserves admiration.Yes "heaven knows..." is certainly one of Huston's sleepers.But I wonder what Luis Bunuel would have done with such a screenplay.
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