Cary Grant cheerfully plays against a lifetime of typecasting in this modestly entertaining romantic comedy with comic echoes of The African Queen and Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, directed by Ralph Nelson (The Lilies of the Field).
Grant plays Walter Eckland, a boorish, unkempt boozer corralled into doing plane-spotting duty on an uninhabited South Pacific island during the second World War. Just when he thinks his situation can’t get any worse, his world is invaded, not by the Japanese, but by seven French schoolgirls and their prim schoolmistress, Catherine Freneau (Lesie Caron). Needless to say, their presence puts a decided cramp on Eckland’s relaxed lifestyle, and sparks of more than one sort fly between Freneau and Eckland as they clash over living arrangements and Eckland’s drinking.
The opposites-attract formula works well, as Freneau with her strait-laced persona is humanized by unexpected foibles and insecurities, and Eckland’s degenerate character is slowly redeemed by a rediscovered sense of decency and chivalry.
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