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The Moon and Sixpence (1942)

Loosely inspired from Gauguin's life, the story of Charles Strickland, a middle-aged stockbrocker who abandons his middle-classed life, his family, his duties to start painting, what he has... See full summary »


Albert Lewin


W. Somerset Maugham (novel), Albert Lewin

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
George Sanders ... Charles Strickland
Herbert Marshall ... Geoffrey Wolfe
Doris Dudley Doris Dudley ... Blanche Stroeve
Eric Blore ... Capt. Nichols
Albert Bassermann ... Dr. Coutras
Florence Bates ... Tiare Johnson
Steven Geray ... Dirk Stroeve (as Steve Geray)
Elena Verdugo ... Ata


Loosely inspired from Gauguin's life, the story of Charles Strickland, a middle-aged stockbrocker who abandons his middle-classed life, his family, his duties to start painting, what he has always wanted to do. He is from now on a awful human being, wholly devoted to his ideal: beauty. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Strange DREAMS - He had ideas he never told her about...He didn't dare! See more »


Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

27 October 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence See more »


Box Office


$401,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Black and White (gold tint) (reels 6-10)| Black and White (Sepiatone) (reels 1-5)| Color (Technicolor) (some sequences) (last reel)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Albert Lewin had left his highly-paid job as an executive at MGM following the death of his mentor, Irving Thalberg. He set up this independent production of Somerset Maugham's novel but had only a small budget to work with; it was primarily to save money that Lewin also took on the writing and directing jobs on the film. Later, he returned to MGM, but with the proviso that he could occasionally take time off from his executive duties in order to direct his own films. See more »


Version of BBC Play of the Month: The Moon and Sixpence (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

His misanthropic best
1 July 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Herbert Marshall plays W. Somerset Maugham in fact if not name in The Moon And Sixpence as he narrates the story of how his life intersected with that of George Sanders a man who left middle class respectability to do his thing with painting, first in Paris and then the South Seas. Marshall is his erudite best and Sanders once again is a cad.

When Marshall first knows Sanders he's the soul of Victorian rectitude, no one suspecting what is beneath the surface. So when one fine day he up and leaves his wife Molly Lamont to go live the Bohemian life as a painter in Paris it shocks everybody. In fact Lamont prevails on Marshall to go to Paris to see what brought this about.

Somerget Maugham's view on human relations and the creative soul are once again given an airing in The Moon And Sixpence. Maugham was a gay man, but there are certain gay men who truly do not like women on most levels. They make too many demands on the creative man, fascinated though they might be by him. That view is in full force when dealing with Lamont and with Doris Dudley who plays a married woman who leaves her husband Steven Geray to take up with Sanders in Paris. His ideal woman is Tahitian Elena Verdugo, pretty and sexy without too much education who takes care of man's physical needs with no demands.

Women were not Maugham's favorites. You can see that in work like Of Human Bondage with Mildred Rogers or in Rain with Sadie Thompson. And I can't forget The Razor's Edge and the part that Gene Tierney plays.

Sanders is a caddish as he ever has gotten on the big screen for the first two thirds of the film. But in Tahiti with no demands on him he becomes a mensch. For myself staying a mensch when life does make demands on you is the true test. But what do I know?

The Moon And Sixpence is Maugham at his misanthropic best. Sanders and Marshall top a fine cast in a film that could have been a real classic with a bigger budget from an A list studio. Herbert Marshall would be the narrator author W. Somerset Maugham again in The Razor's Edge which is a better film. This one in fact did get an Oscar nomination for Dimitri Tiomkin's musical scoring. The Moon And Sixpence can definitely hold its own.

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