Sog.: dalla pièce omonima e dal racconto Because of the Dollars di Joseph Conrad. Scen.: Pamela Bower. F.: Max Green. M.: Basil Warren. Scgf.: William C. Andrews. Mus.: Anthony Collins. Int.: Margaret Lockwood (Anne), Wendell Corey (capitano Davidson), Forrest Tucker (Jem Farrell), Ronald Shiner (Nobby Clark), Robert Harris (Joseph Conrad), Jacques Brunius (Frenchie), Daphne Anderson (la cantante bionda), Helen Shingler (Susan Davidson), Danny Green (Nicholas), Harold Lang (Jacques). Prod.: Herbert Wilcox per Republic Pictures Corp. DCP. D.: 90’. Col.
The transformation of Margaret Lockwood’s Anne, the titular character in Herbert Wilcox’s 1953 Technicolor adaptation of a 1920 Joseph Conrad play entitled Laughing Anne, is a sight to behold. When she first appears on screen she’s a loud and boisterous songstress in outlandish clothing and grossly caked-on make-up. As the story continues, she slowly strips away the artifice until, much later on, she emerges from the brush, shockingly sans make-up, with bleached hair and a deeply worn and weathered face. As the camera slowly moves in on her, the stakes of the story become heartbreakingly clear. Regret, for so many of the characters, is at the heart of the story and what pushes this seafaring movie ahead, creating the strange sensation of constantly looking back as time moves forward. It’s a quietly epic tale of a woman stuck between the bad decisions of two men, played by Wendell Corey and Republic stalwart Forrest Tucker. Corey portrays a good-hearted man who loves the sea and Tucker goes much deeper and darker as a man with exceedingly violent tendencies (and even body parts). Conrad’s play was an adaptation itself, from a short story he wrote a few years earlier in 1915 called Because of the Dollars, and in turn the film opens and is framed by a fictional Conrad telling the story of Anne to a group of men. The movie was the first project in a three-picture deal between Republic and the British company Wilcox-Neagle. Director Herbert Wilcox started off his career as a producer and then later on began to direct, mostly comedies, starring his wife and producing partner Anna Neagle.