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

Thursday, February 11, 2016


FLAME OF THE ISLANDS (1956). Director: Edward Ludwig. In Republic Trucolor.

Rosalind Dee (Yvonne De Carlo) is given a substantial check by the widow, Evelyn (Frieda Inescort), of her boss, with whom Evelyn believes Rosalind was "involved." Insulted, Rosalind takes the check, quits her job, and uses the money to buy into a club-casino in the Bahamas. Alas, little does she know that her partner, Cyril (Kurt Kasznar), who has a hankering for her (as does every other man she meets), is in league with a pack of gangsters. She brushes off wanna-be boyfriend Wade (Zachary Scott), when she re-encounters old flame Doug (Howard Duff), who once got her pregnant but now doesn't even remember her. Then we have Doug's disapproving mother, Charmaine (Barbara O'Neil of Stella Dallas), and even the Widow Evelyn shows up again at an inopportune moment. We also mustn't forget the island captain and part-time preacher, Kelly (James Arness), who also develops a longing for Rosalind. Which man will Rosalind wind up with, or will her gangster partners make sure she winds up at the bottom of the sea? Flame of the Islands, which has enough plot for ten movies, is very entertaining and well-acted by all. Lester Matthews [Life Begins for Andy Hardy] plays the lead hoodlum, Gus, and Donald Curtis is one of his associates. With a sexy De Carlo [Criss Cross] cavorting, singing and dancing, and of course, going after all the men (and vice versa), Flame of the Islands is a lot of fun.

Verdict: The Bahamas were never like this! ***.


angelman66 said...

Wow, what a cast! Looks like fun! Yvonne DeCarlo was gorgeous, she was really made for Technicolor, wasn't she? My favorite role of hers is in The Ten Commandments as the long-suffering wife of Moses.

How does this compare to Rita Hayworth's turn as Sadie Thompson a few years later? Seems like a similar feel...

Zachary Scott was awesome in Mildred Pierce, and Barbara O'Neil I remember as Scarlett O'Hara's mother. I love the character actors in these classic movies. Even the lesser-known ones are full of gems.

Your blog is a treasure chest of classic movie delights.

William said...

Yours too, Chris. Thank you! And you're right about those great old character actors who graced so many movies.

I haven't seen Rita's Sadie Thompson in years but I seem to remember that it was quite different from "Flame." De Carlo is, shall we say,. free-spirited in this, but not really a "tramp."

Anyway, the picture is a lot of fun! As soon as I head the plot I had to see it, ha!