Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

THEY WERE ALONE ON THIS PACIFIC ISLAND… TRAPPED BEHIND ENEMY LINES… THE MARINE WHO HAD BEEN THRU HELL AND SISTER ANGELA WITH HER SUPREME FAITH IN GOD.

 

heavenknowsmrallisonIn 1944, Marine Corporal Allison (Robert Mitchum) is washed ashore a Southern Pacific island where he finds a nun (Deborah Kerr) and an abandoned settlement; she’s only been there for a few days, but they soon have company… A simple set-up, but it pays off. The island (which is actually Trinidad and Tobago) is beautifully shot in Technicolor, and the two stars make sure that we care about the soldier and the nun, people who have devoted their lives to institutions with similarly strict codes; there is some depth to how they are portrayed. And since this is a John Huston movie, we are guaranteed tension as well, in the shape of Japanese forces paying a visit.

1957-U.S. 107 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Buddy Adler, Eugene Frenke. Directed by John Huston. Screenplay: John Lee Mahin, John Huston. Novel: Charles Shaw. Cinematography: Oswald Morris. Cast: Deborah Kerr (Sister Angela), Robert Mitchum (Corporal Allison).

Last word: “We had to have a lot of [sea turtles for a scene], you know. They’re very large and very strong. But after they dragged my weight through the water, they’d tire and we’d have to bring in a fresh one. They could disembowel you with one claw. We had them all tethered over at Poku Reef and had this giant, Cecil Anton, and he’s talking to our secretary one morning and she says ‘Good morning, Cecil’, and he says [imitation] ‘Good morning, mistress’. She said, ‘How are you, Cecil?’ He said, ‘Just keeping my body and soul together, mistress’. And he comes to report the death of the sea turtles. He says, ‘They die from homesickness. They are very far from home.’ Meanwhile, there’s a pile of shells building up on the beach and there have been bonfires going every night. They were eating these 400-pound monsters.” (Mitchum, “Mitchum: In His Words”)

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