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The Beachcomber (1954)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 10 August 1954 (UK)
Ewart Gray (Donald Sinden) is the new Resident-in-Charge of the Welcome Islands in the Indian Ocean. The Islands are full of life, but the only other Europeans are the "sanctimonious, ... See full summary »

Director:

Muriel Box

Writers:

Sydney Box (screenplay), W. Somerset Maugham (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Glynis Johns ... Martha Jones
Robert Newton ... Edward 'Honorable Ted' Wilson
Donald Sinden ... Ewart Gray
Paul Rogers ... Rev. Owen Jones
Donald Pleasence ... Tromp
Walter Crisham ... Vederala
Michael Hordern ... The Headman
Auric Lorand Auric Lorand ... Alfred - Major Domo
Tony Quinn Tony Quinn ... Ship Captain
Ah Chong Choy Ah Chong Choy ... Wang - the Barkeep
Ronald Lewis ... Headman's Son
Jeanne Roland Jeanne Roland ... Amao (as Jean Rollins)
Lizabeth Rollins Lizabeth Rollins ... Girl at Maputiti
Michael Mellinger ... Medical Orderly
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Storyline

Ewart Gray (Donald Sinden) is the new Resident-in-Charge of the Welcome Islands in the Indian Ocean. The Islands are full of life, but the only other Europeans are the "sanctimonious, psalm-singing" brother and sister missionary team of Martha Jones (Glynis Johns) and Reverend Owen Jones (Paul Rogers), and Edward "Honorable Ted" Wilson (Robert Newton) - a hard-drinking, womanizing social outcast whose English family pays him to stay away. Martha and Ted become an unlikely team when cholera threatens the islands and they must do their best to stop its spread. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

W. Somerset Maugham's Trouble-Making Love-Making Tramp of the Tropics See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 August 1954 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Le vagabond des îles See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. See more »

Goofs

When some characters are pinioned to the ground the green grass behind their heads in close-ups does not match the burned grass of the location shots. See more »

Connections

Remake of The Beachcomber (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Onward Christian Soldiers
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan and lyrics by Sabine Baring-Gould
Performed by Martha Jones, Headman and the natives
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Boozing Romeo meets psalm-singing Juliet
25 October 2009 | by Irie212See all my reviews

"Anyone who drinks water deserves all they get," says drunkard Ted as he travels to cholera-plagued islands with missionary/nurse Martha.

This is not dazzling film-making, but it is well-done and engaging, with a solid Maugham story, a marvelous turn by Donald Pleasance in his first role (as a perpetually smiling Indonesian clerk), and three notable stars:

Glynis Johns is a delight to watch, and she brings a lot of heart, soul, and spirit to Martha, a woman so inexperienced that she keeps her eyes wide open when a man kisses her for the first time.

Entering with a torn hat, filthy jacket over filthy undershirt, and five o'clock shadow, Robert Newton establishes himself immediately as an irresistible reprobate. Introducing himself to the new colonial kingpin, he scrounges a whiskey, announces that he's been banished from England, and says it's not so bad on Barru island: "There are ways of passing the time. Are you married? (answer no) Well, any time you feel like a little bit of fun, just let me know."

The third star, truly, is the locations in Sri Lanka and the colonial British islands of the South Atlantic. Not just gorgeous—fearfully gorgeous. There is a remarkable scene of an alligator attacking an elephant as it drinks. Hell of a fight, splashing, bellowing. The alligator wounds its trunk, but the elephant soon tramples the reptile, and then-- and this is wonderful—kicks its attacker ashore, and then, instead of just walking away, it kicks the corpse back into the water. That final kick, which is clearly unnecessary, seems almost punitive. And thrillingly deliberate. That elephant is a genuine character in the film-- not a big role, but a crucial one because of the ending, which reminds us that an elephant never forgets.


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