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The Moon and Sixpence

4.0 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Loosely inspired from the life of French painter Paul Gauguin, Charles Strickland (Sanders), a middle-aged London stockbroker who abandons all responsibility to become an artist. Strickland pursues his dream to the extent of leaving his family, betraying his friends and associates, and living a life of unending hedonism in Tahiti. Undeniably brilliant as a painter, Strickland is also a good-for-nothing, until he is forced to confront himself on the threshold of death. Herbert Marshall plays Geoffrey Wolfe, who narrates the story as he attempts to make some sense of Strickland's creative ways.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: George Sanders, Herbert Marshall, Doris Dudley, Eric Blore, Albert Bassermann
  • Directors: Albert Lewin
  • Writers: Albert Lewin, W. Somerset Maugham
  • Producers: David L. Loew, Stanley Kramer
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Vci Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2005
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009PLLTK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,637 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Moon and Sixpence" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 11, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
As a movie, THE MOON AND SIXPENCE is an interesting job. To soothe the Hays office, it legalised by marriage one of Gauguin's affairs, but in general, it sticks to the Maugham novel, using the great Herbert Marshall as a narrator to speak Maugham's words. George Sanders is remarkably convincing as the painter who scorns all human relations in his demonic desire to paint. He actually seems to justify Maugham's description: "The emotions common to most of us simply did not exist in him, and it was as absurd to blame him for not feeling them as for blaming the tiger because he is fierce...he was at once too great and too small for love. Outstanding among famous artists whose lives and loves have fascinated the world is the Frenchman Paul Gauguin. In 1919, a rising young author named W. Somerset Maugham wrote a novel suggested by the curious career of Gauguin; it has since become a minor classic work of fiction. In his book, Maugham never admitted that he wrote generally about Gauguin. But everyone knew he did. In 1941, when United Artists began filming the novel, they received a stern letter from the painter's eldest son, Emile Gauguin, who then lived in Philadelphia. Emile threatened to sue if any Gauguin art was used in the movie, as this would conclusively identify Maugham's disreputable hero with his father. To avoid suit, the movies created fakes.
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Format: DVD
VCI Entertainment and United Artists present "THE MOON AND SIXPENCE" (1942) (89 mins/B&W/Color) (Dolby digitally remastered) --- Starring George Sanders, Herbert Marshall, Doris Dudley and Steven Geray --- Directed by Albert Lewin and released in October 27, 1942, our story line and film, While the beginning of this film is a bit slow, soon we are treated to a simple but effective treatment of this extraordinary story ... as the Gauguin-like painter Charles Strickland, played by George Sanders actually does a bit more than play his 'typical cad', but relishes his character's poking fun at a hypocritical society, and shows real passion in describing to the Maugham-like figure exactly WHY he leaves his ordinary London existence --- We absolutely believe him when he insists "I HAVE TO PAINT". Wisely, the director doesn't let us see any of Strickland's canvases, and we are only limited by our own imaginations as to how powerful they must be --- The story alone is worth viewing, a person abandoning their family in order to follow one's dream, is compelling enough ... Sander's performance as well as Herbert Marshall as Somerset Maughm are both first rate --- No one could have done a finer job at playing the tortured cad then Sanders --- Herbert Marshall once again plays Maugham, as he did in "The Razor's Edge" (1946) --- Sanders has a field day playing an absolute cad, who cares for no one but himself as he deserts wife, family and career to paint ... a slightly fictionalized biography of Paul Gauguin --- Great score by Dimitri Tiomkin as usual ... Remember when Mr.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Somerset Maugham's Anglicized roman-a-clef about Paul Gauguin received happy treatment in this 1942 Albert Lewin version. Always drawn to high-falutin' subjects, and frequently rather poky in his approach, here Lewin proves an ideal interpreter of the source material; he provides reams of dialogue for Maugham's usual narrator/stand-in, wittily played by Herbert Marshall, whose acres of commentary over silent visuals proves piquant rather than irritating. George Sanders was never seen to better than in this portrayal of an artist whose brutal honesty and selfishness proves destructive to those who love him. The entire cast is excellent, but special mention should be made of Florence Bates. She's usually a treat, but never in a role like this; the lady seems to be having the time of her life cast against type. The DVD transfer is fine; one version reproduces the theatrical release, with its black-and-white Europe, sepia tropics, and burst of color at the end. Highly recommended for fans of literate cinema.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
...of perhaps history's greatest novel.

I first read the book many years ago and fell in love with it. Then I fell in love with the work of Paul Gaugin of whom the book is a fictional biography. Yeah, yeah, there's the romanticism involved, i.e., a curator told me Gaugin apparently died of syphillus (though I'd read before that he died of heart failure). But Charles Strickland/Paul Gaugin represent the height of individualism: leave the comfortable behind for the unknown even though you don't know exactly what you're pursuing.

George Sanders, with whom I wasn't familiar, played Strickland. I thought he portrayed the role very well. He even laughed at the right places! (And, interestingly, Sanders seemed to have a little of the Strickland/Gaugin in his heart, if you read of his suicide. But I'll let you do that yourself.).

Herbert Marshall played Geoffery Wolfe, the Maughm-like character. I recognized him because he played Maughm in the 1946 production of "The Razor's Edge," another stellar Maugham novel.

The other characters were cast well for the roles described in the novel, especially Steven Geray as Dirk Strove--as accurate as any casting director could have been with Strove's description in the book.

Of course, there is only so much one can do with a film, and the novel is invariably better than the movie that way, but this one impressed me.

There are two versions of the film on the DVD, one as released in the theatre, and the other black and white. If you're anticipating a colorized version of the B&W print, you'll be disappointed. The theatrical release wasn't "color" like I would expect it today. But had it been, I wouldn't have been interested in it. (And I may yet watch the B&W.
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