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Sunday, July 15, 2012

50'S FOCUS : SEA WIFE ... 1957

20TH CENTURY FOX
Presents

SEA WIFE
Starring

JOAN COLLINS as Sea Wife
RICHARD BURTON as Biscuit
BASIL SYDNEY as Bulldog
CY GRANT as Number Four
RONALD SQUIRE as Teddy
JOAN HICKSON as Scribe
NORA NICHOLSON as Elderly Lady
EDITH SAVILLE as English Memsahib
JOHN WOOD as Radio Officer
EILEEN WAY as Mrs Glass

Associate Producer - Bob Mc Naught   Director of Photography - Ted Scaife  Art Director - Arthur Lawson
 Music by William Alwyn Screenplay by George K Burke From the Novel "Sea Wyf & Biscuit" by JM Scott
                   Edited by Peter Taylor   Produced by Andre Hakim   Directed by Bob Mc Naught


Thrown together on a raft, in the middle of the Indian ocean, three men and a girl are shipwrecked, they eventually find land.... But the girl, who came to be known as Sea Wife, has a secret, that she has vowed to keep! Can she resist the temptation of breaking that vow, when Biscuit falls in love with her? Will Biscuit be forced to search for his true love forever? Maybe he will find it...in the face of a nun!  Could she be Sea Wife?
(c) 1957 .. 20TH CENTURY FOX . 82 MINS ..COLOR .. REG 1 DVD From FOX ENTERTAINMENT

"Sea Wife" is a film that could have been a masterpiece had Fox decided to stick with the original script and not interfere with the production. It was originally set to be directed by the renowned Italian film maker Roberto Rossellini, who was much more open-minded that Fox executives! His vision of the film was much stronger and more controversial and the studio was afraid of the backlash that could erupt. It's central story concerns the attraction between two shipwreck survivors, one of whom is a nun! Rossellini wanted to show both characters engage in a romance, but Fox feared the wraith of Catholic groups and refused to sanction Roberto's draft of the script. Joan had been set to star in "Boy On A Dolphin" with Alan Ladd, but Fox decided to give the role to an international beauty making her American debut, one Sophia Loren.. This was Joan's second brush with Ladd, as she had screen tested in 1953 with him for a film called "The Red Beret".. Joan was Rossellini's choice for the role of Sea Wife as he had seen her in "The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing" and thought she conveyed the innocent look of a nun! Joan was excited that such a renowned director was at the the helm and threw herself into the role by having her hair cut and spending some time with the nuns at a convent in London. Richard Burton who had a one picture a year contract, did not care one way or another, although he usually only accepted scripts he thought good enough..The exterior scenes for the film were to be shot in Jamaica and 100 cast and crew set off to film the proposed masterpiece! But hopes for a great epic faded when they reached Kingston as Rossellini, who had went on ahead of the crew to scout locations, had already fallen out with producers and had walked from the film. He had refused to compromise his vision of what he wanted for the film and he had been replaced with the films associate producer Bob Mc Naught, who had little experience in directing, but was up to the challenge. Both Joan and Richard were dismayed to find an amateur at the helm, but had to accept the situation. Kingston Harbour was transformed into Singapore as it was in 1942. However the harbour was not all plain sailing as the cast and crew discovered after shooting a shipwreck sequence. They had to find another location as sharks had invaded the shoot, making things hazardous to all. Events off-set were not all rosey either as the hotel the cast and crew were staying in The Shaw Park Hotel, were having problems of their own as the staff decided to strike and spent their time on the beach watch the filming! Shooting in Jamaica lasted two months and then it was back to London for interior shooting at Elstree Studios. Richard Burton, who had a reputation for lusting after his leading ladies, tried the same routine with Joan, But she wasn't interested on been just another notch on his well worn belt! On returning to London, Joan was delighted to spend some time at Harley House with her parents and her brother Bill.Her mother was delighted to have her daughter back home and spoiled her by bringing her breakfast in bed and tending to her every needs. Joan finished the film, but she was not as excited about the film as she had been at the start of the project. She felt what could have been a hi-light of her career, was now just an overblown soap opera. "Sea Wife" did do well at the box office, even spawning a hit record "I'll Find You" sung by British tenor David Whitfield, released by London Records, reaching no 27 in the British charts.
NEWS OF THE WORLD .....
" Joan Collins conveys an aura of loveliness and understanding."
Joan looks stunning in the film and even though it fails to fully address the subject matter, it still is an enjoyable voyage and who could resist Joan as a nun!
(c) 2010 ...  Mark McMorrow..
JOAN GETS IN THE HABIT FOR SEA WIFE!
JOAN AND RICHARD WITH REPORTER..
JOAN CHATS TO ROBERTO ROSSELLINI ON SET OF SEA WIFE.

JOAN ARRIVES IN JAMAICA WITH RICHARD BURTON...





2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this interesting article.

    I've probably seen this film three or four times as well as reading the JM Scott novel more than once and I must admit I've always been fascinated by it without quite knowing why.

    The moment they abandon Number Four is still genuinely horrifying.

    Anyway, a very interesting summary of the making of the film.

    Thanks again,

    Martin Hatter, Bristol, UK

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  2. Martin.. thanks for your comment and glad you found the article interesting.. really appreciate you taking the time to write.. hope you enjoy the rest of the blog! Best wishes Mark.x

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