The Beachcomber


Muriel Box

New governor arrives at a forgotten island corner of the Pacific, where the only other white folk are a priggish missionary brother and sister and the local drunk (Newton, naturally). A cholera outbreak and the need to aid the natives brings the repressed sister (Johns) and the drunk into a relationship, one in which they both become stronger people.

A decent adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's short story "The Vessel of Wrath," which had been previously filmed in 1938. Johns and Newton make perhaps the most unlikely romantic pairing one could think of, and they give the film its charm. It's always a pleasure to see Newton NOT playing Long John Silver! And also a pleasure to learn that elephants, indeed, never forget. Any resemblance to The African Queen is purely coincidental, of course.

The film is mainly of note as Donald Pleasance's first on-screen credit. A rather inauspicious start, as he plays a native civil servant complete with brownface makeup and sing-song accent, a peculiarly embarassing cinematic trait which was given quite an indulgence in this film.

-Dave W.

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The Beachcomber
10th August 1954

82 mins

The Beachcomber
15th January 1955

82 mins

Glynis Johns
Martha Jones
Robert Newton
Edward 'Honourable Ted' Wilson
Donald Sinden
Ewart Gray
Walter Crisham
Michael Hordern
The Headman
Paul Rogers
Rev. Owen Jones
Donald Pleasence
Tony Quinn
Ship Captain (uncredited)
Auric Lorand
Alfred, Major Domo
Jean Rollins
Amao (uncredited)
Ah Chong Choy
Wang the Barkeep
Jaron Yaltan
First Warder (unconfirmed)
Lizabeth Rollins
Girl at Maputiti
Soraya Rafat
Mala (unconfirmed)
Ronald Lewis
Headman's Son (uncredited)
Rena Lennox
Headman's Daughter
Michael Mellinger
Medical Orderly (uncredited)
Susan Horsey
Girl in Baru Street
Wanda Sinclair
Girl in Baru Street
Andy Ho
Dispenser (uncredited)
Ronald Adam
Sir Henry Johnstone
(scenes deleted?)
James Gilbert
Hector (unconfirmed)
Melton Moreland
Kim Parker

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