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Outcast of the Islands (1951)

Outcast of the Islands poster.jpg

Director Carol Reed and a novel by Joseph Conrad. What could be better? Writer William Fairchild adapted the book and he had served in WW2 as a naval officer so the setting and concept were brilliantly aligned:  a man (Trevor Howard) working for a merchant in Malaysia has to fake his suicide after being caught stealing and travels with a ship’s captain (Ralph Richardson) to a secret trading post where he falls for a local girl rumoured to be a killer. Criticised for its over-direction because that appears to stray from the strict rhyme of Conrad’s treatise on betrayal, it’s nonetheless a stimulating story, well told, with Reed’s typical flair. It helps to have Robert Morley and Wendy Hiller as the Almayers but Richardson is offputtingly weird as the Captain. If its pictorialism detracts from Conrad’s lesson, well, it probably did a lot to bring new readers to the classic writer.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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