Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


SOUTH SEA WOMAN (1953). Director: Arthur Lubin.

Through a series of misadventures Sergeant James O'Hearn (Burt Lancaster), his buddy and rival Davey (Chuck Connors), and the woman, Ginger (Virginia Mayo), that Davey is in love with wind up on an isolated island that seems untouched by the war except that any soldiers wind up in the jail. O'Hearn only pretends that he's gone AWOL, but Davey wants no part of the war, with the result that O'Hearn, of all people, winds up court-marshaled. The movie is a long flashback detailing how he wound up in such a situation with the story veering from Shanghai to the French island of Namou. Too much talk in the courtroom sequences slows the movie down but there's some good action near the end when a commandeered yacht helmed by O'Hearn takes on the Japanese fleet! The three leads all give very good performances, as does Viola Vonn as the Frenchwoman Lillie Duval, and Arthur Shields [Daughter of Dr. Jekyll]as another resident of the island. Paul Burke plays an ensign at the court martial.

Verdict: Entertaining if unremarkable. **1/2.

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