Robert Mitchum stars in this 1957 movie about a World War II Marine who finds himself stranded on a deserted Pacific island with a beautiful woman only to find out she is a nun.
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
Directors: John Huston
Producers: Buddy Adler And Eugene Frenke
Writers: John Lee Mahin And John Huston
Features: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Color, Feature Trailer, Five Fox War Classic Trailers, Four Movie Tone News Features: "Tarawa: The Marine's Toughest Battle," "King And Nimitz View Scenes Of Saipan Victory," "Japs Raid Saipan" And "Photoplay Movie Awards," English Stereo, English Mono, Spanish Mono And French Mono.
Corporal Allison...Robert Mitchum
Sister Angela...Deborah Kerr
"Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison" is a romantic story that couldn't be. This is a 1957 color movie starring Robert Mitchum as a Marine corporal and Deborah Kerr as an Irish nun, both stranded on an isolated island in the Pacific ocean during World War II. The premise is obvious. Poor dumb Marine stuck on an island with a beuatiful woman only he can't do anything about it because she is married to God. Not only that, but this is 1957 and morality in the cinema is still strong as well the Catholic church. What's a guy to do? This probably posed many potential problems for the film's director, John Huston. John Huston who would later direct "The African Queen" chose to keep everything very aboveboard and lightly tickled the sexual overtones of the predicament faced by two members of the opposite sex with no chaperone or law to enforce a morality. Deborah Kerr("From Here
To Eternity") was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance.
The movie opens up on a liferaft bobbing up and down in the Pacific ocean with a lone Marine inside. The raft wanders close to an island shore and the marine jumps out to pull the raft to the beach. The Marine is soon exploring the island which appears deserted though it has a small village. At a wooden chapel he finds a nun named Sister Angela played by Deborah Kerr. Sister Angela tells Corporal Allison(Robert Mitchum) that the Japanese army had conscripted the villagers for labor before she had arrived with a Father Phillips who had died of natural causes. All the boats had been taken so Cpl. Allison and Sister Angela settle in for what could possibly be a long wait until someone stops at the island. With the United States at war with Japan it could easily be the Japanese who would be the ones stopping by.
These are two people from different sides of life. Allison is from the streets. He explains that he was left at an orphanage on Allison Street in the city of Milwaukee when he was a baby and he was given the last name of the street. He ran away when he was fourteen, did some jail time and joined the Marines to straighten himself out. Now he is a Marine through and through because they gave his life meaning. Sister Angela doesn't go into her past, but it is evident she has led a sheltered life. Somewhere in her life she had lost direction and found it in God. She too has found a vocation that has given her life meaning.
Cpl. Allison has never met a woman like Sister Angela. By his manner it is surmised that he is used to bargirls and has never had a real relationship. In some ways he could be considered to have led a sheltered life. He is now out of his natural element. Cpl. Allison is unsophisticated and had only seen a career in the Marines as all he ever thought he wanted until he came across this woman like no other. Now he is confused. Robert Mitchum does an outstanding job in portraying this befuddled man. Not known for saying much in his acting style, Mitchum is very believable and charming as Cpl. Allison.
The film mainly consists of these two actors' interactions. Cpl. Allison is constantly calling Sister Angela, "Mam," while Sister Angela refers to him as Mr. Allison. These two titles are used so often that the first names of both characters become irrelevant. Perhaps it had to be this way in order to assure the public and Church that nothing was happening when it came to the nature of their relationship.
Though this DVD is considered part of the Fox War Classics this is not what I would consider a real war story. The war with Japan serves as the backdrop for this never to be romance. At the very end of the movie the real world of war moves in, but that is just to make a tidy wrap-up of the story. Each character is back to their reality with only fond memories to be any evidence that there might have been more.
This DVD has a very clear color picture in widescreen with good sound in either a choice of English stereo or mono. Though it doesn't say it on the back of the DVD there are four Fox News features mainly about the war on the Pacific islands with Japan. One of these features is a news story about Deborah Kerr getting an Oscar nomination. She received six nominations in her career, but never won. All the features are very short, not lasting more than a minute or two. It is clear that these films have been severely cut. I don't know why the whole feature was not left intact to better give a younger viewer more of a feel for the war at that time. There are also five trailers for different Fox War Classics and one separate trailer for "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison." For some odd reason the notes on the back of this DVD refer to Allison as a Sergeant when he is only a Corporal.
This DVD movie of "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison" can be enjoyed by both sexes with the female getting more pleasure in the viewing of this romantic drama set during World War II. It does have tension and a few action scenes because of the Japanese presence that will keep the attention of the male. This is a good movie to be viewed as a couple. I would give the movie three out of five stars.