Until They Sail

1957, Movie, NR, 95 mins

Review

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A four-way love story based on a Michener story serves as the plot for this soap opera set in New Zealand during WW II. There is a quartet of New Zealand sisters, each with her own problem. Most of the local men have gone off to war, so when a horde of fun-loving American soldiers descend on the city of Christchurch, the local female citizenry are thrown for a loop. Fontaine is the spinster sister, a woman who hides her emotions and keeps men at arm's length until she meets Drake, a captain, and falls hard and fast for him. He is slain in action, and she is left with a living memory inside her, a child he has fathered during their brief but ecstatic romance. Laurie is just as fun-loving as the Americans and perhaps even more passionate. With no parents to guide her (they've died, and her sole brother was killed in service), she gives vent to her emotions and marries sleazeball Cassell, who then goes off to fight. The youngest sister is Dee, who watches the problems of her older sisters and waits patiently for her love to come home from the service. Simmons is the main story. She's a widow with a good head on her shoulders and a happy memory of the life she shared with her husband, who was also a victim of the Japanese. Newman's job as Marine captain is to check on the soldiers' requests to marry the local women. He is divorced, stiff, and somewhat of a drinker until he meets and falls for Simmons. While Cassell is gone, Laurie becomes an insatiable nymphomaniac. Cassell returns, sees what's gone on, and kills her, while Dee's childhood sweetheart returns unscathed. Good love scenes between Newman and Simmons contributed strongly to his becoming a matinee idol when this picture was released. While all the women were good in their roles, it's doubtful that the real New Zealand women enjoyed being portrayed as so love-starved that they fall easy prey to the dashing Americans. It was Newman's fifth film and his second with director Wise, who had also helmed the excellent SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME. leave a comment

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