Island in the Sun
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Top Customer Reviews
In light of the controversy surrounding the recent "Monster's Ball", we may not have matured as much as we think.
Many of the other roles are filled by those that were under contract to Twentieth Century-Fox, the releasing company: Joan Collins (Jocelyn Fluery"), previously seen in "Land of the Pharoahs", Michael Rennie ("Hilary Carson"), earlier featured in "The Robe" and the classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and Patricia Owens ("Sylvia Fluery")from"The Fly".
Even James Mason ("Maxwell Fluery") had been featured in the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz vehicle for Fox "Forever, Darling".
Future "Ben-Hur" villain Stephen Boyd ("Euan Templeton") is on hand as the romantic interest for Collins.
While the acting is equal to the talented cast, it is character veteran John Williams that steals the show. As "Colonel Whittingham", the police investigator of a character's demise, he seems as a precursor to television's "Columbo". Crafty, witty, and verbally adept, his "flatfoot" is not one's typical cop.
In all, the film is enjoyable, not only for the performances but for the lush scenery and the glimpse at how movies "dared" to do something different in the 50's.
The interracial romances may have raised a few eyebrows at the time, and I am all too familiar with life in the state that banned this film upon its original release. The majority of Americans probably couldn't relate to an educated Black populace
struggling for its independance, or shouting down the orations of a white politician they didn't trust, as was played by James Mason. But the charismatic character, David, played by a strapping Harry Belafonte, is typical of many Blacks in the Carribean. What Americans often fail to appreciate is the fact that the slaves of the Carribean were freed and educated sooner than they were in the United States, and that few who understand the culture of most Carribean Islands would bat an eyelash at the thought of their being in positions of leadership.This film was made to entertain an America that still had a long way to as far as improvement in race relations was concerned. Consequently, Dorothy Dandridge's Margot could not kiss her White lover.
But in showing the corruption of the White establishment, exemplified by Joan Collins, James Mason, et. al, we see the justification for the fight for the full citizenship of the Blacks of the island. Joan Fontaine is Harry Belafonte's love interest who is sympathetic to his plight, but still condescending towards the people he represents.Read more ›
Dandridge was very angry because her character had not been developed beyond the "cute dumb chick" roles she was trying to avoid, according to Donald Bogle's bio.
The older matronly Fontaine and fiery young Belafonte are totally mismatched. Instead of acually touching they just stand around looking thoroughly confused and misdirected.
Collins' "black blood" dilemna is laughable (pure soap), but at least she is allowed to kiss (and screw!) her husband to be.
Only Mason gives a believable - and exceptional - performance.
This film is racist Hollywood at its best, trying to be daring, but utterly failing.
I saw "Island in the Sun" when it was released in 1957 and bought this video only because it offers one of few opportunties to see the ravishing Dandridge perform during an era when Hollywood had no place for a dramatic Black actress.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Overall I think this was a great film about race relations in the 50's. But it was a bit misleading for the caption to say "..... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Edward Taylor
The scenery was beautiful! But I expected more from the plot.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a really superlative introduction to very inexpensive Masonic (right) whorehouses in Jamaica. Why, you'll feel just like a native sucker!! WITH complementary ganja!Published 5 months ago by It is a small ringdom, but...
This was a gift for my mom for her birthday. She is a big Harry Belafonte fan. I don't much care for his radical views but it was the best movie he ever made and it was very well... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Paul McKain