The Beachcomber (December 25, 1938)
Released on December 25, 1938: (running time 1 hour and 28 minutes) Love blooms for a drunken beach bum and a frumpy, proper missionary lady when they are stranded together on a deserted South Seas island.
Produced by Charles Laughton and Erich Pommer
Directed by Erich Pommer
Written by W. Somerset Maugham, Bartlett Cormack and B. Van Thal
The Actors: Charles Laughton (Edward Claude 'Ginger Ted' Wilson, beach bum), Elsa Lanchester (Martha Jones, missionary), Robert Newton (Mr. Crighton the Island Controleur), Tyrone Guthrie (Dr. Owen Jones, Miss Jones' brother), Eliot Makeham (the native head clerk), Dolly Mollinger (Lia, school student), D.A. Ward (Albert, native tribe leader), J. Solomon (Sergeant Henrik), S. Alley (mechanic), Mah Foo (Ho, Oriental merchant), Rosita Garcia (Kati, school girl), Fred Groves (Dutch sea captain), Ley On (Ah King)
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Crime and Punishment, . . and Crazy Island Love
This adventure takes us to a remote island in the Dutch East Indies, where we find a beach bum (Charles Laughton) that loves sunsets, booze, pretty girls and his little dog Dudley. This Island is also home to a prim and proper missionary lady (Elsa Lanchester, Laughton’s real-life wife) and her brother, who try mightily to turn the island natives into proper British subjects.
The island beach bum and Miss Jones could not be more different. He chases island girls, a spot on the beach to sleep the day away, and the next bottle of beer. Miss Jones works hard every day trying to teach the islanders proper English and the proper way to behave in society. Two of the most opposite people one could ever encounter.
These two characters soon develop an intense dislike of each other, as their very different lives are tossed together, but we all know that the thin line between love and hate can twist and turn in strange ways as the fate of the islands continues to push the beach bum and Miss Jones together again and again. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Charles Laughton, the beach bum
Elsa Lanchester, the missionary
Elsa Lanchester, Charles Laughton
Elsa Lanchester, Tyrone Guthrie
Robert Newton, Charles Laughton
Rosita Carcia, Dolly Mollinger