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Customer Review

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fragmentary, 30 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Outcast Of The Islands [DVD] [1951] (DVD)
Chop, chop, chop... never have I seen a film so badly served by editing. Perhaps it was not sympathetically shot, with editing in mind, perhaps it was not edited with the story in mind, who knows. Whatever the case, the frenzied intercutting of shots - action/cutaway, action/cutaway - is wearisome. The story (forget Conrad) is a familiar tale of natives versus white man that Carol Reed fails to rescue from conventional melodrama. There are moments when you believe he might; they keep on slipping away. The one image, or set of images, truly memorable is that of the actress Kerima, who plays the 'Eurasian' love interest (she was, in fact, French-Algerian). Reed knows he has something here and milks it for all it's worth (his assistant married the actress as soon as the cameras stopped rolling). Trevor Howard tries hard and does achieve a believable performance, but his character is so unattractive that it hardly seems worth the effort. Robert Morley is good as the tuan-trader, and so is the child actor playing his young daughter. Wendy Hiller is given very little scope in her part as his stranded wife, apart from a couple of wan shots of her staring into the distance - another outcast? Ralph Richardson is smothered in too much sea captain's whiskers for his character to take shape. The location shooting - exotic and vivid - is nullified by the poor editing, and the apparent over-dubbing of much of the dialogue - poorly done in places - further adds to the impression of amateurish post-production. All rather sad, really, because the ghost of a better picture lingers for a while, before fading away. Appropriately the film's last shot is of the one arresting ingredient: the sensuous, striking Kerima.
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Location: NSW Australia

Top Reviewer Ranking: 17,216