Another Stewart Granger movie right up my alley. This time in the sailing/South Sea Island vein. I quite enjoyed this movie, which had another nice score by Miklos Rozsa.
Robert Taylor also stars in this movie, as Granger's younger brother, which was weird, as Taylor looks older to me (and I think he was older in real life), but whatever. They were believable as brothers Mark (Granger) and Joel Shore(Taylor), scions of a long line of seafaring Shores.
The movie opens with Joel returning to port and finding Mark missing and presumed dead in the Gilbert Islands. There's some sordid tales spinning through the seamen on the ship Mark captained, about Mark skipping out on his crew. Joel won't accept any insult to his brother, however, and defends Mark's honor with fists when necessary.
Joel is given Mark's ship and becomes her new captain, and he immediately sets sail for the Gilberts to find out what happened to his lost brother. Ann Blyth plays Pris, the girl both brothers loved. With Mark out of the picture, she marries Joel, and sails with him on their three-year cruise! That rather surprised me. Who takes a woman on a whaling ship??
Of course, when they get to the Gilberts, Mark turns up alive and well with a wild story to tell. Mark's story was my favorite part of the movie, naturally! Just all Stewart Granger, friendly and unfriendly South Sea islands, a native girl he falls in love with, and a shifty-eyed bunch of pearl hunters looking to make it big that he falls in with accidentally. The wealth the pearls offer fuels the last portion of this movie, with Mark fully intent on recovering his loot, and Joel fully intent on continuing his whaling mission. Neither brother is willing to back down, so things get quite interesting at the end of the movie.
Like I said, Mark's story told in flashback was my favorite section, but there were quite a few other moments I really loved. When Mark finds out Joel has married Pris in his "presumed dead" absence, the look he shoots Joel is pure hatred. It's so strong a look I half expect Robert Taylor to burst into flames or something. Remind me never to make Stewart Granger mad! LOL! I loved most of the scenes between the two brothers, as they verbally spar with each other. There's a great scene where Mark takes special delight in telling his brother that he took Joel's toys away when they were kids, and he can still do it now. To Joel's credit, he doesn't rise to the bait, but if there's one thing Robert Taylor's really good at, it's being stolid and unflappable. And I loved when Joel finally decks Mark (hm, I see to enjoy watching Granger get knocked down... at least when he totally deserves it.). I loved the action-packed end of the movie too.
Other things I loved about this movie: the wonderful James Whitmore as one of the scroungy, scheming pearl hunters. Absolutely loved him, plotting quietly, acting decisively when he's ready. There's a desperate fight between him and Granger that I loved, even if I had to watch it through my fingers (I have this thing about knives being grabbed by the blade...). John Lupton is also in this film, in a small role as a seaman, and I dig him too. And Ann Blyth's character doesn't get in the way too much, so I didn't mind her along for the ride as much as I thought I would.
All in all, a rather different movie and quite enjoyable. I'd definitely watch it again.