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Harriet, now an adult, narrates the story of her coming of age growing up as a British national and a daughter of a jute press manager in the Bengal region of India, they living in the big house on the banks of one of the holy rivers. At the time, she is the eldest of six siblings - five girls and one boy - with another on the way and with she being significantly older the rest of her siblings. As such, she spends much time with an honorary member of their family, a late teen - not quite an adult - named Valerie, also a British national and the daughter of the jute press owner. Another friend, who recently arrived home from her western schooling, is Melanie, the biracial daughter of British national Mr. John and his then deceased Hindu wife. Both Mr. John and Melanie realize her difficult position, straddling both the Hindi and western cultures. Their small world is shaken up with the arrival of Captain John, Mr. John's cousin and an American ex-military man who has one prosthetic leg...Written by
A really glorious, spellbinding movie. Filmed in Bengal, India, on the Ganges, it captures the essence of India, the timeless quality of life on the Ganges, without being patronizing.
This is a coming of age movie about three teenage girls, two British and one Anglo-Indian, and how their lives are affected by the arrival of a one-legged American war veteran. It's very easy to fall into sentimentality in a movie like this, but Renoir avoids this obvious pitfall. Though I have to say, I found this film very moving.
It helps that this movie is filmed in Technicolor, and is one of the best uses of Technicolor of that era.
Some of the performers were amateurs, including the actor who played the veteran and some of the children, but overall the performances are outstanding. A fine, low-key performance by Esmond Knight. This was the only film for Patricia Walters, who played Harriet, and Thomas Breen, the war veteran who played Captain Jack, never made any other movies. Watch for Arthur Shields, the brilliant Irish actor, as father of Nan.
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