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

Thursday, April 10, 2014


The brat: Mike (Tab Hunter) peers at the object of his affection
ISLAND OF DESIRE (1952). Director: Stuart Heisler.

"Unpleasant -- brat!"

When a ship is bombed during WW2, the only survivors are a young marine named Mike (Tab Hunter of War-Gods of the Deep) and a middle-aged lady doctor named Elizabeth (Linda Darnell of Hangover Square). After they make their way to a deserted island that resembles paradise, their antagonistic relationship softens into a mutual attraction. Despite their situation, all seems quite blissful until an English pilot crash lands on the island and a triangle soon develops ... One problem with Island of Desire is that the two main characters never mention their lost comrades, nor wonder what's happening with the war; instead they engage in silly banter not long after everyone else is killed. However the fact that both of them don't quite seem to fit in and have no one else in their lives helps make their relationship more plausible. Darnell is quite good, and Hunter is also believable as the callow marine who bristles at being called a boy. This was Hunter's second film and he shows some acting ability to go with the considerable sex appeal. It would be easy to dismiss this as an "old maid's" fantasy film --virginal woman winds up on an island with handsome Royal Air Force pilot and Tab Hunter -- or sheer romantic folderol, but it holds the attention, is well-acted, well-photographed by Oswald Morris, and has a nice score by William Alwyn. John Laurie appears in flashbacks as another man who was shipwrecked on the island.

Verdict: For romantic souls and Tab Hunter/Linda Darnell fans. ***.

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