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The Moon and Sixpence (1942)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 27 October 1942 (USA)
Loosely inspired by Gauguin's life, the story of Charles Strickland, a middle-aged stockbrocker who abandons his middle-class life, his family, and his duties to start painting, as he has ... See full summary »


Albert Lewin


W. Somerset Maugham (novel), Albert Lewin
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




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


Loosely inspired by Gauguin's life, the story of Charles Strickland, a middle-aged stockbrocker who abandons his middle-class life, his family, and his duties to start painting, as he has always wanted to do. He is from then 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


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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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 »

Alternate Versions

There is a tinted and a color sequence toward the end of the film, both of which have recently been restored, but for many years this film was seen only in black-and-white. See more »


Version of The Moon and Sixpence (1959) See more »

User Reviews

Based on Somerset Maugham's novel
8 April 2012 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

George Sanders stars in "The Moon and Sixpence," a 1942 film also starring Herbert Marshall, Doris Dudley, Eric Blore, Steven Geray, and Albert Basserman. Loosely based on the life of Gauguin, the screenplay by Albert Lewin is based on the book by Somerset Maugham.

As in the later "The Razor's Edge," Maugham, here also played by Herbert Marshall, serves as narrator for most of the film. Sanders is the unpleasant, self-involved Charles Strickland, a stock broker who deserts his family and leaves London to go to Paris and become a painter. There he meets Dirk Stroeve (Geray), who becomes a friend. When Strickland becomes ill, Stroeve over the strong objections of his wife Blanche (Dudley) moves Strickland to their home to nurse him back to health. Stroeve then gets the impression that his wife is in love with Srrickland, and that Strickland has no intention of leaving. So he throws him out. His wife says that she's leaving with him. Stroeve leaves instead.

Strickland eventually tires of Blanche and then leaves for Tahiti. There he continues to paint and even falls in love with a native girl, Ata (Elena Verdugo). There Dr. Coutras (Bassermann) picks up the narration.

As the unapologetic user obsessed with his work, George Sanders is excellent. Like many in the studio system, he was typecast into playing one type of role, but he was capable of so much more. Another revelation in this film is Eric Blore, who was always typecast as a butler. Here he is a different kind of character and is absolutely wonderful. Herbert Marshall does not register much in what is basically a thankless role - he had more to do in The Razor's Edge.

Good movie. If this and Lust for Life are any indication, Gauguin, even if this character just hints at him, was a most unpleasant character.

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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)
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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
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