The Story …
While the Royal Australian Navy evacuates Salamaua in February 1942 ahead of a Japanese invasion, Commander Frank Houghton coerces an old friend, American beachcomber Walter Eckland, into becoming a coast watcher for the Allies. Houghton escorts Eckland to deserted Matalava Island to watch for Japanese aeroplanes.
To ensure Eckland stays put, Houghton sees to it that his own ship “accidentally” knocks a hole in Eckland’s launch while departing, so his only boat is a utility dinghy.
To motivate Eckland, Houghton has his crew hide bottles of whisky around the island, rewarding each aircraft sighting (once it is confirmed) with directions to one of the bottles.
Eventually, Houghton offers Eckland a replacement (actually another coast watcher in need of rescue), but Eckland has to retrieve him from nearby Bundy Island by dinghy.
He instead finds eight civilians stranded there who escaped from Rabaul: Frenchwoman Catherine Freneau and seven young schoolgirls (four British, two French and an Australian) under her care.
She informs him that the man he came for was killed in an air raid. Eckland reluctantly takes the party back to Matalava with him, but there is no safe way to evacuate them.
The fastidious Freneau clashes repeatedly with the slovenly, uncouth Eckland; they call each other “Miss Goody Two Shoes” and “a rude, foul-mouthed, drunken, filthy beast,” respectively. In the end, though, he adjusts to her and the girls, with Eckland getting one of the traumatised girls to speak again.
Freneau learns that Eckland had been a history teacher before he became fed up and chose life in the South Pacific. Afterwards, Eckland cares for Freneau after they mistakenly believe she has been bitten by a deadly snake. With nothing else to do, he gives her whiskey; she gets drunk and speaks freely.
Now in love, the couple arranges to be married by a military chaplain over the radio, but are repeatedly attacked with bombs and machine-gun fire from a Japanese aeroplane interrupts the ceremony.
Since they have been detected, Houghton sends an American submarine, USS Sailfin, to pick them up, but an enemy patrol boat shows up first.
Leaving Freneau and the schoolgirls in his dinghy, Eckland takes his now-repaired launch out to lure the Japanese vessel beyond the surrounding reef so the submarine can torpedo it.
The Japanese sink the launch, but the submarine sinks the patrol boat.
An uninjured Eckland, his wife, and the girls are picked up.
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Directed by : Ralph Nelson
Written by : Peter Stone and Frank Tarloff
Based on : A Place of Dragons short story by S. H. Barnett
Produced by : Robert Arthur
Cinematography : Charles Lang
Edited by : Ted J. Kent
Music by : Cy Coleman
Production Company : Granox Productions
Distributed by : Universal Pictures
Release Date : December 10, 1964
Genre : #Comedy – #War – #Drama – #Action – #Romance
Cary Grant as Walter Christopher Eckland
Leslie Caron as Catherine Louise Marie Ernestine Freneau
Trevor Howard as Commander Frank Houghton
Jack Goode as Lieutenant Stebbings
Peter Forster as the chaplain
Simon Scott as submarine captain
Ken Swofford as submarine helmsman
And of course, all the kids 🙂
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ALL RIGHTS TO THIS MOVIE REMAIN WITH THE OWNERS