Island In The Sun

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Set during the 1950s on a British-ruled Caribbean island, this drama deals with local politics, interracial relationships, social inequality, racism, adultery, and murder.

ACTORS :  James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Balafonte

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1957

POSTAGE : Free postage within Australia

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Description

Storyline

Set on a fictitious island in the Carribean during colonial British rule, it focuses on the life of a young charismatic and handsome black male with political aspirations. He finds himself confused on returning home when his romantic liaison with a white female tends to conflict with his political views. As rumor has it, an interracial screen kiss caused quite a commotion in the U.S. when this movie was released. The plot is further strengthened by a look at the lives of a white expatriate family also living on the island. The family has to deal with problems of infidelity, racism, and murder.

Richly entertaining…

Very easy to imagine this happening throughout the world. The setting of the film (island) creates the microcosm that drives the conflicts of the plot, much like Casablanca. The theme of desire throughout the film helps this wonderful cast create characters you can enjoy and understand, their motives quite transparent. The scene with Harry Belafonte (David Boyeur) singing with the fishermen hauling in the nets stands out. John Williams, who is always brilliant in such roles, works his magic to provoke and entrap James Mason’s Maxwell Fleury into confessing his murder. Dorothy Dandridge is lovely as Margot, and the subplot of her love affair keeps the hope for happy endings alive in the film. The cinematography helps to develop the exotic yet isolating setting, and the sets do well to set the tone of the lifestyle (luxurious) of the prominent characters who live under the mercy of desire in the human condition. The themes of this film transcend its setting, and I imagine this film to have been quite enlightening to those who viewed it in 1957. Really enjoyed this film, even in its length.

Succeeds on several different levels; a personal favorite

While there are many other more “contemporary” films which examine race relations issues equally as competently if not more so – considering this one was produced back in 1957 it should be recognized as genuine breakthrough! Sure, you may have heard about some of its cop outs, but bear in mind that interracial relationships were political dynamite at the time – and yet some of the film’s observations remain poignant even today. But the ultimate beauty of this film is that even if you could care less about the racial issues, it still excels as a mystery / “whodunit” with some intriguing plot twists, as a mini musical with Harry Belafonte performing at the top of his game, and even as a sort of Travel Channel feature-of-the-week, which might leave you booking reservations to your own tropical paradise. So tune out the naysayers for a moment and give this one a fair shot. It may not be technically perfect, but most will be entertained, one way or another.

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