6.6/10
259
11 user 7 critic

The Beachcomber (1938)

Vessel of Wrath (original title)
G | | Drama | 25 December 1938 (USA)
In the Dutch islands, the sister of a pious missionary attempts to reform a womanizing, drunken beach bum.

Director:

Erich Pommer

Writers:

W. Somerset Maugham (short story "Vessel of Wrath"), Bartlett Cormack (written for the screen by)
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Laughton ... Ginger Ted' Wilson
Elsa Lanchester ... Martha Jones
Robert Newton ... The Controleur
Tyrone Guthrie ... Dr. Owen Jones
Eliot Makeham ... The Native Head Clerk
Dolly Mollinger ... Lia
D.A. Ward D.A. Ward ... Albert
J. Solomon J. Solomon ... Sgt. Henrik
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Storyline

In the Dutch islands, the sister of a pious missionary attempts to reform a womanizing, drunken beach bum.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The nursery rhyme that Ted quotes is 'Jack Sprat' (The most common version of the rhyme is: Jack Sprat could eat no fat./ His wife could eat no lean./ And so between them both, you see,/ They licked the platter clean) See more »

Goofs

The shadows on Ginger Ted's verandah change between shots in the opening scenes. In the first shot most of the verandah is in muted shadow, in the next most of it is in full sun with clear shadows. Later, his dog is seen sitting on the verandah in full sun late in the day with the shadows in the same place as earlier. See more »

Connections

Remade as The Beachcomber (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Sailing, Sailing (Over the Bounding Main)
(uncredited)
Sung by Ginger Ted
Written by Godfrey Marks
See more »

User Reviews

 
A great idea for a story that is unfortunately wasted.
14 December 2017 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Edward Wilson (Charles Laughton) is a drunkard and womanizer who lives somewhere in the Dutch East Indies (today known as Indonesia). Oddly, he and EVERYONE apart from the natives are very British...but no matter. Regardless, he's a pretty worthless drunk and is constantly in trouble with the law. But the local magistrate realizes Ed is pretty harmless and even likes him. However, their relationship is sorely tried when a couple incredibly moralistic Brits arrive and keep insisting that the government do something with Wilson...such as deporting him. However, this attitude changes when the uptight lady (Elsa Lanchester) is briefly shipwrecked with Wilson. Oddly, she almost instantly sees him as a flawed man with great potential...and she's not about to see him continue life without her guidance and care.

There are several problems with the film--most notably how quickly the lady goes from loathing Wilson to adoring him. This just didn't make any sense and would have worked had it been like the film "Swept Away" where a pair of folks who hate each other are stuck on a deserted island for a very long period. Additionally, Lanchester's character is a bit too shrill and too stereotypical to seem real in the least.

The bottom line is that the film is a time-passer and, unfortunately, nothing more. It is mildly interesting to see the husband/wife pair of Laughton and Lanchester acting together once again but apart from that this one just disappointed considering the actors and nice Southern France location shoot (yes, Southern France doubled for Indonesia).


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Beachcomber See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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