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Island in the Sun (1957)

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Set during the 1950s on a British-ruled Caribbean island, this drama deals with local politics, interracial relationships, social inequality, racism, adultery and murder.

Director:

Robert Rossen

Writers:

Alfred Hayes, Alec Waugh (novel)
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Cast

Credited cast:
James Mason ... Maxwell Fleury
Joan Fontaine ... Mavis Norman
Dorothy Dandridge ... Margot Seaton
Joan Collins ... Jocelyn Fleury
Michael Rennie ... Hilary Carson
Harry Belafonte ... David Boyeur
Diana Wynyard ... Mrs. Fleury
John Williams ... Colonel Whittingham
Stephen Boyd ... Euan Templeton
Patricia Owens ... Sylvia Fleury
Basil Sydney ... Julian Fleury
John Justin ... Denis Archer
Ronald Squire ... Governor Templeton
Hartley Power Hartley Power ... Bradshaw
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Barbara Upton Barbara Upton ... Colonel's Secretary
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Storyline

Set on a fictitious island in the Carribean during colonial British rule, it focuses on the life of a young charismatic and handsome black male with political aspirations. He finds himself confused on returning home when his romantic liaison with a white female tends to conflict with his political views. As rumor has it an interracial screen kiss caused quite a commotion in the U.S. when the film was released. The plot is further strengthened by a look at the lives of a white ex-pat family also living on the island. The family has to deal with problems of infidelity, racism and murder. Written by Warren D. Mottley <trident@toj.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The place is the West Indies . . . the sun hides many things.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 August 1957 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Heiße Erde See more »

Filming Locations:

Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$8,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Fontaine received hundreds of hate letters, containing dimes and quarters, which read, "If you're so hard up that you have to work with a nigger..." They were post-marked from various parts of the country but they seemed to be dictated by one organization, as many of the phrases were identical. See more »

Quotes

Mavis Norman: Does it make any difference, having an aim in life?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inventing the Abbotts (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Island in the Sun
Written by Harry Belafonte and Irving Burgie
Performed by Harry Belafonte
See more »

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User Reviews

Richly entertaining...
1 March 2015 | by jeldridg27See all my reviews

Very easy to imagine this happening throughout the world. The setting of the film (island) creates the microcosm that drives the conflicts of the plot, much like Casablanca. The theme of desire throughout the film helps this wonderful cast create characters you can enjoy and understand, their motives quite transparent. The scene with Harry Belafonte (David Boyeur) singing with the fishermen hauling in the nets stands out. John Williams, who is always brilliant in such roles, works his magic to provoke and entrap James Mason's Maxwell Fleury into confessing his murder. Dorothy Dandridge is lovely as Margot, and the subplot of her love affair keeps the hope for happy endings alive in the film. The cinematography helps to develop the exotic yet isolating setting, and the sets do well to set the tone of the lifestyle (luxurious) of the prominent characters who live under the mercy of desire in the human condition. The themes of this film transcend its setting, and I imagine this film to have been quite enlightening to those who viewed it in 1957. Really enjoyed this film, even in its length.


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