Still Heavenly After 60 Years
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), the much-loved Cinemascope World War II tale set in a 1943 battle zone, which marked the first time its two stars worked together, and they would go on to play opposite each other three more times, all memorable. As David Shipman covers it in The Story of Cinema, “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison follows an American marine (Robert Mitchum) and an Irish nun (Deborah Kerr) on a Pacific atoll in wartime. It has the enchantments of other coral island stories rather than those of The African Queen, of which we are initially reminded; and since the central relationship raises the issue of romance, which it then avoids, we may see this as an example of [director John] Huston’s ability to take an unlikely or unlikeable subject and covert it into a reasonably sophisticated entertainment.” Since pictures often speak louder than words, the following YouTube Excerpts of a "Behind the Screen" British Movietone “On Location” documentary, narrated by Canadian/British actor Robert Beatty, of the film’s production in Tobago offer a 20-minute glimpse into the making of this superbly crafted movie (shot by eight-time Huston cinematographic collaborator Oswald Morris) that earned Academy Award® nominations for Kerr as Best Actress, and John Lee Mahin and Huston for their Screenplay Adaptation of the novel by Charles Shaw. (For impatient attention spans, there’s a 6-minute footage overlap between Parts 2 and 3.)
That it all came together beautifully is evident in Twilight Time’s superbly rendered hi-def Blu-ray, available here: http://screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/27152/HEAVEN-KNOWS-MR-ALLISON-1957/.