Monday, May 5, 2014

Set on a small Caribbean Island the film takes a serious look at interracial romance involving three couples and a prominent family’s dark secret.

Made in 1957 and filmed in Jamaica this excellent movie, based on the 1955 novel by Alec Waugh, was very daring in its day, and hardly seems dated even now. 

The issues it probes haven’t been satisfactorily resolved yet.

The cast is first-rate. 
James Mason, Joan Fontaine, 
Joan Collins, Harry Belafonte, 
Dorothy Dandridge, Michael Rennie, 
Stephen Boyd and Diana Wynyard are splendid.

Don't miss this chance to hear Harry Belafonte tell Joan Fontaine, who is in love with him, that way down deep she thinks of him as a NIGGER
It's deeply touching.


  1. I haven't seen this film!

    One I get my paper-grading avalanche under control, I'll watch this movie. I've always adored James Mason.

  2. Well Harry Belefonte IS a Nigger

  3. You're putting grist into Harry's mill, A. Reader.

    I remember this movie from when it first came out, and was impressed by it but only as superior piece of entertainment.

    In the 1950's Harry Belafonte was very popular, even loved, by most "with it" people of my parents' generation. I still enjoy the music he sang. Calypso has a charm all its own -- unless you hear it sung by natives IN Jamaica, which unfortunately I did back in the early '80's. That was after the British left, and everything had gone to hell under Manley's Communist Regime.

    The "shining waters" were still there, and so were the coconut palms, but the "gold-white sands" were strewn with broken glass, big chunks of concrete from which rusted rebar protruded, the remains of dead trees, tons of dog dirt and aggressive beggars.

    If you failed to "donate" to the beggars, they would give you a dirty look and say, "You don't like black people? Why you come here, then? Go home Yongkee Bahstard!" I felt frightened, and soon gave up trying to leave the (miserable, run-down) confines of the hotel.

    The whole scene there seemed eerily reminiscent of Suddenly Last Summer.

    The plumbing at the hotel didn't work very well, so half the time the toilet wouldn't flush and there was no hot water. The food was inedible and very VERY expensive. We lived on Coca Cola and slices of frozen pizza from the USA sold at a little stand for six bucks a slice.

    Altogether a horrible time. We'd paid for a week in advance and wound up leaving on the fourth day, and were glad to pay extra for the earlier flight.

    With people like Barry-O and His Boys in charge WE here in the good old USA will be reduced to a similar level in no time at all.

    Decline, Decay, and Destruction never take long anywhere White Rule is forced to abdicate -- especually when COMMUNISTS take over.

  4. At any rate, tit's no wonder Harry Belafonte was so convincing as the angry, bitter, restless, joyless, ceaselessly agitating "Young Charismatic Leader of 'HIS' People" he portrayed in the film. We didn't suspect it at the time, but Bella Phony, as we think of him today, was merely playing HIMSELF. And so a beloved entertainer was in truth a viper we nursed in our national bosom.

  5. As with most all of Rossen's work, it hasn't aged well.
    Little heavy on the melodrama.

    The Hustler made the cut, however.

  6. rotten to-MAH-toesMay 5, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    The reviews are in. The film is awful.

  7. Vaginya Lupus said

    "The reviews are in."

    So are the clowns.

  8. I did watch this movie. Not because I enjoy sitting in front of a computer screen for two hours to watch something which would present much better on the large screen, but because I began reading the book some time ago and just couldn't get into it.

    And the movie was well done and I enjoyed it. Comparing this movie to one today (Divergent) that I found shallow and contrived with characters that seems to have all humanity sucked out of them—I'd say that comparing the two movies is like comparing night and day.

    Interracial romance is only an issue because it is the age old problem of the tribal collective mindset always imposes its collective will through duress, either mental or ultimately physical. The tribe has its ways of imposing its will on the recalcitrant and intransigent individual who operates in a self- directed manner attempting to decide life's choices having the temerity to do that outside the collective values of the tribe.

  9. Howard Roark.

    A very astute comment Waylon. Kudos.

  10. It's a very good movie, FT. I found myself easily absorbed in it. The settings and the quality of the performances are what make it so good, of course. The interracial themes don't seem to matter all that much oddly enough. All that seemed a bit contrived anyway, but just seeing people look so well put together and hearing them speak so beautifully was a treat in itself. Thanks for putting up so much entertaining material that has real value, FT.

    Sorry, I haven't said anything here for a long while, but I've been looking and listening.

    Helen Highwater

  11. I'm sorry. I don't get it. Waylon didn't mention Howard Roark, did he? Or is this some sort of in joke?

    I have to admit I am truly mystified.

    Helen Highwater

  12. Did you read the Fountainhead? Or see the movie?

    It's about individualism, going againt the tribe, and principle.

    That is what I meant.

  13. I thought the Fountainhead was about rape.

  14. Rape? No, that was Marx's "Das Kapital".

  15. RN, the rape scene was pretty dramatic.
    Actually we owe King Vidor a vote of gratitude for exposing the silliness right under Rand's nose. She was hovering on set and he still made a parody of it all.

    Great film.

    1. Ducky, the scene WAS in the book.

      Yes, it was a great film that did a great great novel justice.

    2. Helen Van StrugelMay 6, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      RN when are you gong to stop you foolish bull shot ? Huh ?

    3. When you stop yours Strugel Doodle.

  16. La Contessa Vendetta Sanguini Maggiore said

    That very old Fountainhead movie, darling, was about Frank Lloyd Wright's intense dislike for middle-class taste. Don't you Americans know anything at all anymore?

    And rape? Don't kid me, darling, she loved it.

  17. Contessa, in Ducky's twisted and depraved little mind any sexual act between a man and a woman would constitute rape.

    But fudge packing on the Hershey Highway, that's Duck Soup.

  18. The only one guilty of rape in the truest sense would be Elsworth Toohey, who stood as a symbol for entrenched Philistinism enhanced, enforced and incessantly magnified and glorified by the -- ta ta ta TA - ta TAH!!! -- ENEMEDIA.

    Like so many of his morally vicious kind, Toohey RAPED the PUBLIC MIND daily thus robbing members of the the public of their chance to develop their own tastes and predilections through honest curiosity instead of through constant exposure to canned. pre-conceived, pre-digested propaganda designed to reinforce ignorance, lack of imagination, and to generate suspicion and resentment of anything new and different.

    Depriving a person of his or her true identity, which robs them of their potential, is what "rape" is REALLY all about.

    1. Well stated FreeThinke. Thank you!

    2. Hates shit faced bloggersMay 7, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  19. Ducky,

    Thanks for the report on the rediscovery of Mendelssohn's lost song -- a short work written for a private commission. It was never untended for public performance, and the composer, himself, as a man of honor -- a kind of honor that probably seems absurdly quaint to us today -- took pains to make sure it was neither printed nor ever given a public performance.

    Here is a link that works much better if anyone wants to here it:

    It's a brief, but very lovely piece, and like many of Mendelssohn's Sons Without Words seems as hough it cold have inspired Robert Schumann since its harmonies, overall texture and aura of sweet sentiment anticipate much that Schumann, himself, later wrote.

    Thank you for sharing this welcome bit of news, Ducky. I had not heard anything about it before.

    I wonder if we'll ever find out exactly how this lost manuscript -- in Mendelssohn's own hand complete with his verifiable signature -- arrived on the North American continent?

  20. Vaginya,

    You strike me as a woman with a deliciously dry sense of humor who understands that "brevity is the soul of wit."

    Please come back and see us again.

  21. I thought it was an interesting piece, FT.

    Too my less critical ear it was uncomplicated but very well formed.
    Nothing strained and nothing to distract from the very soothing melody.

    See you have done some good, FT. I've come to really enjoy Mendelssohn.

  22. With a little bit of effort we can all find things to like about each other. We don't have to agree on everything to be friendly.

    Ciao ciao, bambini ;-)

  23. I can't think of anything that I like about Harry Belofonte!
    Oh wait, he was a pretty good singer 60 years ago!

  24. Calling a Spade a SpadeMay 7, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  25. A litte bit of unbridled hatred may set a good example of how not to think, and what not to do, but when it gets excessive it befouls the board, and must be excised.

    I hope more people watch the movie. It's stylishly presented, intriguing and decidedly spellbinding once you allow it to draw you in.

    Thank you for giving it that chance, Waylon. I have remembered that I did read the book -- the Readers Digest Condensed version -- but I was just 14. It was just a good yarn to me at that age. Most didn't look for polemical significance back then anyway. We read for pleasure and to appreciate interesting plots, convincing character development, good dialogue, and stylish prose.

    Railing on endlessly about racism had not yet come to dominate public life, and that meant we were much MORE inclined to be sympathetic to Negroes and other minorities trapped in a culture alien and inhospitable to them.

    Militancy in outsiders tends to antagonize. It rarely engenders sympathy, and tends to asphyxiate nascent feelings of empathy.

    Giving tit for tat has never been very helpful to human progress.

  26. Then why is tit-for-tat the "hands-down" most successful gaming strategy?

    Agreed, it's not nice. But it IS effective.

  27. What assurances, other the Roark's were given that he was a great architect? He seemed a little full of himself.

    Why is compromise with the client a fault?

    When has American architecture not been open to new trends?

    What jury exonerates you from blowing up a construction site because your design was modified?

    Which was Patricia Neal's better rape scene, The Fountainhead or Hud?

    Admit it, you all laughed when Raymond Massey shot himself. What a hoot.

    The film however is a brilliant satire.

  28. Rapoport & Axelrod, eh?

    I ought to have have known!

    It could never have come from Terwilliger & Wakefield, Lanchester & Laughton, Redfield & Bancroft, Bailey, Banks & Biddle, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, J.P Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Batton, Barton, Durston & Owen or Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, Smith & Bean, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, et al.

    That was Old World.

    Look who's in charge today:


    Oink! Oink! Oink!

  29. The farther we move from adherence to CHRISTIAN principles and precepts, the closer we move towards The Abyss -- the flaming pits.

    Abandon the Golden Rule, and we've abandoned Civilization.

  30. Ducky, as serious student of the arts and something of an artist, yourself, surely you know that creative individuals tend to be fiercely egocentric, idealistic, individualistic, zealous in the extreme about their work, arrogant, and dismissive of prevailing norms and quotidian trivialities. They make lousy husbands too, I've been told.

    The countess up there claimed the Fountainhead was really about Frank Lloyd Wright's having made a successful career out of thumbing his nose at the Bourgeoisie, despite loud opposition from the Philistines of his time.

    Everything said about the nature of The Artist above applies very well to Frank Lloyd Wright, who was in reality a far less attractive figure than Howard Roark.

    So what's your beef?

    Only you could see The Fountainhead as a satire of the author's novel of the same name.

    Though I respect her point of view and many of her ideas, I have never liked Rand's writing. She couldn't write dialogue to save her soul. Her prose is turgid, her characters appear stilted and never really come to life. It's much too obvious they are merely allegorical symbols designed to serve a didactic, polemical scheme.

    Rand's writing has frequently been called "tendentious." I'm afraid I have to agree. That does not mean it is not worth reading, however. It just ends to be heavy sledding, that's all.

    The movie, however, has great impact and wears well. I try never to miss seeing it when it's on.

  31. Does anyone find Joan Fontaine at age 40 a credible love interest for the young Belafonte? Her character is something of a mystery. Who was she, really? What had she done all those years before meeting Harry? She hints broadly of a checkered past -- "I always get involved with the wrong man"-- but she is very thinly drawn in the movie. Perhaps we'd learn more from the book?

  32. Sorry, FT, any course on camp would include The Fountainhead.

  33. I don't take "courses" -- especially not on matters I regard as entertainment --, and I don't read "critics." I form my own opinions from direct experience. I think, I feel, -- or fail to feel --, and then I try to articulate.

    "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree."

    I am most grateful I to have been educated, and never subjected to agenda-driven instruction amounting to indoctrination.

    Only once - in graduate school -- did I have a professor who tried to inform us the music we were examining was "The Product of Privilege." The way he said it made "privilege" sound like a dirty word. He was one of those typical poorly dressed, poorly groomed, heavily-bearded products of the Sick-sties who looked as though he'd be more at home in a coffee house, strumming a guitar whining anti-Establishent protest songs than in a classroom.

    I was thirty at the time -- a bit older than most of the others --, and was able to see -- and smell -- the Marxian cant and rhetoric that had polluted his mind, so I stood up, and said, "We should all thank God for "Privilege" and the system of Patronage stemming from the Church and the Aristocracy. Without it we'd have had a sadly diminished artistic and intellectual heritage. In fact Europe would have nothing to attract tourists, and we'd have nothing much to study today, and no reason for being here right now, and you, dear Professor, would have to find something else to do in order to make a living. Did you never think of it from that perspective?"

    I said this with a whimsical air in a jocular tone, and a gleam in my eye, but he knew I was serious.

    Well, you could have heard a pin drop, and then the class broke into applause.

    Believe it or not, I got an A from the guy, which may say more for his quality of character and integrity than mine.

  34. FT,
    If you were to utter those words in a classroom today, do you think that the professor would still give you an A?

  35. I honestly don't know, AOW. The country was already very far gone by 1970, and this professor was definitely a hardcore leftist, even though his specialty was early Baroque music. The trend to view EVERYTHING through a political lens was already well in place, but stark-raving MADNESS we hear about on campuses today had not yet taken hold.

    I guess it would depend in the professor -- as it usually does anyway.

    The incident described took place at NYU -- the Belly of the Leftist Beast in Law, Sociology and Journalism. My field was far less politicized, although "Ethno-Musicology" had reared its ugly head by then, and was starting to be regarded as a legitimate field of study, and not just a curiosity.

  36. FT,
    I personally know former students who have been targeted by Leftist professors this semester -- threatened with failure if they don't agree with the professor and express their opinions in the classes (even if an "open discussion" is going on).

    I say the same about former students in the past few years, too.

    To my knowledge, they have all knuckled under -- on the specific instructions of their parents.

    These same parents talk about taking a stand, but won't do so themselves.

    Frankly, I'm disgusted and have lost respect for these wimps, who continue to whine about what's going on. As I whining to me makes one damn bit of difference!

    No wonder that our society and our culture has undergone a sea change. NO GUTS TO STAND UP AGAINST THE WAVES OF TOTALITARIANISM!

    The next generation will get what their parents deserve instead of that the next generation deserves per se.

    Thus endeth AOW's rant for today.

  37. FT,
    The country was already very far gone by 1970, and this professor was definitely a hardcore leftist...

    That trend is now the norm and has more strength. To whom can targeted students now appeal? To the dean? Not usually.

    The case was very different back when I was in college (1968-1972). An academically strong student could fight the targeting by individual professors. I know several students who successfully did so. Back then.

  38. This forces us to ask the question: Do we go to college primarily to receive and education or to have our worldview adjusted by professors with a point of view determined to bully us into submission?

    If a college administration SUPPORTS such tactics on the part of professors using "academic freedom" as an excuse, do we not have a duty to ourselves as students our children as parents to WITHDRAW from that school, and do as much as we possibly can to make PUBLIC STATEMENTS about the situation?

    But of course, this PERVERTS the PURPOSE of attending a university in he first place.

    if the subject is supposed to be VIVALDI, it ought not to be twisted into a polemic on the social injustices of Vivaldi's time, and how they've been perpetuated in our own society today, blah blah, blah.

  39. What you have said, AOW, gives evidence that what-should-be-the-true purpose of "education" has been SUBVERTED by undue political influence.

    Of course, leftists think this is just "hunky dorey" and "peachy keen," I'm sure.

  40. At the risk of being called a leftist, Marxist, or any number of other things, it does seem the more conservatve are pursuing a similar agenda these days and are not adverse to indoctrination in so long as it supports and serves their objectives.

    Two of the best teaches I ever had, one a consevative Christian the other a liberal give me great advice, "always set your sights higher than the dollar", and "knowledge is a powerful weapon, learn all you can from as many sources as possible but always think for yourself."

    How it seems education and politics have changed in the last 45 years.

  41. RN, why do you think being called leftist is a risk?

  42. Call it a figure of speech Ducky. Even though I am not, in certain company I am CONSIDERED to be.

    Labels are BS anyway, at least for the most part. Unless you fit into one of the extremes, then of course applying a label is easy.

    As to risk in the literal sense, there is none.

  43. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    ~ Matthew 6:24 (KJV)

  44. FT,
    Mr. AOW had a VERY ROUGH day today, and we are both exhausted. I'll spare all reading this thread the airing of today's details in a public forum.

    However, before I shut down the computer and retire for the night, I want you to see this as evidence of the devolution of higher institutions of learning: The War On Standards Comes to College Debate.


    Just think what the blogosphere will be like in a few more years!

  45. I'm so sorry you had a bad day, AOW. Your Mr. deserves every break he can get -- and so do you. I take it you both survived the ordeal -- whatever it was -- and are now safe at home at least? Hope I'm right.

    Can't say I'm looking forward to reading your link, but will investigate soon. Right now, I'm broiling chicken believe it or not. Was up at 4:30 AM, and got so tired by 11:00 AM I had to take a nap. FATAL!

    Imagine eating dinner after 9:00 PM. Preposterous, but that's what I'm doing. (:-o

  46. Call it a figure of speech Ducky. Even though I am not, in certain company I am CONSIDERED to be.

    Odd isn't it. In my group I'm considered the moderate.

  47. FT,
    Neither Mr. AOW nor I caught a break yesterday!

    No "breach of safety" was involved although Mr. AOW was at home alone when the trouble ensued. I arrived home after a long day at work to deal with the matter.

    Ah, well! It's over now, and we managed to get some sleep last night.

  48. DUCKY: "Odd isn't it? In my group I'm considered the moderate ..."

    LES: "Now THAT is scary! ..."

    We've all grown so used to Ducky after so many years of dealing with him, that many of us have developed a genuine fondness for him, even though we despise his politics. Ducky is after all a fellow human being, and the concern he expresses for his family and the less fortunate, I know, is quite genuine. However, I believe he told you the truth, Les, in that short remark.

    Ducky represents the tip of a colossal iceberg lurking in our waters. It is a constant threat to the very existence of our Ship of State.

    The existence of this extreme faction is why the country has become so maddeningly divided.

    There can be NO COMPROMISE with ideologies, philosophies and profoundly alien religious beliefs.

    You speak constantly of being "rational," Les. I'm certainly not opposed to that, HOWEVER, of what use is "rationality" in the presence of a hissing cobra, a charging rhinoceros, a poisonous scorpion, or a howling mob bent on burning your house down or hanging you from the nearest tree?

    Such deadly forces are hardly susceptible to reasoned argument

    I often talk of compromising with the Devil as a convenient metaphor when trying to counter arguments that favor cooperation and peaceful co-existence with those who are essentially Marxian in their approach to governance.

    It's foolhardy to imagine for an instant that such attempts at compromise will produce anything but pain, sorrow and irretrievable loss.



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