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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ISLAND IN THE SUN (1957)

Stunningly shot by the great Freddie Young on some Caribbean isle, this Darryl Zanuck/Robert Rossen pic takes forever to set up its five or six interlocking stories (most with ‘daring’ interracial angles), but is unable to organize them coherently. (With similar structural obstacles, but less prestige on the line, the same year’s PEYTON PLACE aimed lower and accomplished a lot more dramatically.) An amazing cast (James Mason, Harry Belafonte, Joan Fontaine, Michael Rennie, Dorothy Dandridge, John Justin, Joan Collins, Stephen Boyd, et al) keep disappearing on us with only Mason’s ‘Crime & Punishment’ inspired story acquiring a bit of traction, thanks largely to John Williams amusingly dry riff on Inspector Porfiry. A real missed opportunity here though Dandridge & Justin make a charming couple.

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