Island in the Sun (1957)

Writer/director Robert Rossen made one masterpiece (The Hustler) and two pretty good movies (Body and Soul, All The King’s Men). But other good credits are hard to find. (I’ve seen Lilith and Alexander the Great, and neither is good.)
This adaptation of Alec (brother of Evelyn) Waugh’s ‘controversial’ novel was racy at the time, owing to its portrait on an interracial ‘romance’ between Joan Fontaine and Harry Belafonte on a West Indian island. But it’s so lukewarm as to be virtually invisible.
There are (typically for an adaptation) SO MANY characters to keep track of – which means it at least has an interesting cast: not just Fontaine and Belafonte but James Mason (going through the neurotic playbook), Dorothy Dandridge, Joan Collins, Michael Rennie, John Williams and Stephen Boyd – who later won fame as Messala in Ben Hur, but here is utterly hopeless as an English aristo…
The main reason to watch this (free on YouTube) is Freddie Young’s gorgeous cinematography, each delicately coloured, immaculately composed frame being as good as a painting…


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I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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