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Island in the Sun

Screening on Film
Directed by Robert Rossen.
With James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Dorothy Dandridge.
US, 1957, 35mm, color, 119 min.
Print source: 20th Century Fox

Rossen was gradually re-entering the good graces of Hollywood with this “work-for-hire” for producer Darryl F. Zanuck. Wildly successful upon its release, the daring sun-drenched retreat to a British-colonized Caribbean island mingles the fascination and beauty of exotic otherness with that of stately British nobility. As a result, the romances of two pairs of interracial couples and those of two troubled upper class white couples melodramatically reflect and absorb the larger social inequalities and upheavals. An elaborately entertaining ensemble cast earnestly and ambitiously plays out 1950s hopes and fears surrounding race and colonialism despite the reverse of this picture postcard implicating Hollywood for its interest in those with darker skin only when they can be glamorously exploited.

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The Bodies and Souls of Robert Rossen

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