Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Island in the Sun

ISLAND IN THE SUN. “Scandal, political intrigue and inter-racial romance on a steamy Caribbean island” – well, that’s what the blurb says, and continues: “Its 1957 on the tropical island of Santa Mara (so no, its not Jamaica) where a charismatic new black leader threatens to unseat British rule.” The result though is a rather tedious two hours as several plotlines converge around the leading players. Joan Fontaine has a chaste romance with Harry Belafonte (they barely touch each other, but it was 1957) Which Cannot Be, so they have to give each other up, but it gives her a chance to wear some nice summer outfits and halter tops, with white gloves of course. 
Joan Collins also gets to wear some nifty outfits as she romances a stolid Stephen Boyd (an English lord !); James Mason gets into a murderous rage over his wife’s relationship with Michael Rennie; Dorothy Dandridge is rather wasted, and Diana Wynyard is good support, along with John Williams as the police chief tracking down the murderer. 
It was a best-selling novel by Alec Waugh (a brother of Evelyn) and Darryl F Zanuck produces and gives it that 20th Century Fox plush Cinemascope look mixing in contract players like Boyd, Collins, Patricia Owens, with the more established stars, so another potboiler on screen, like their PEYTON PLACE, THE SUN ALSO RISES, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING ? – but not nearly as entertaining as those. The island here could be a mix of Barbados and Grenada and is a set-designer’s dream. The title song is one of the first pop hits I remember ... A star-studded entertaining chunk of trash then for a wet winter afternoon, and so very 1957. 
PS on Fontaine & Belafonte - it caused a furore in America in the '60s when Petula Clark touched him when they were singing on one of her tv shows .... so imagine the fuss in 1957 ! Poor Joan received hate mail!

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