This week’s mystery movie has been the 1957 MGM film “Until They Sail,” with Jean Simmons, Joan Fontaine, Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, Charles Drake, Sandra Dee, Wally Cassell, Alan Napier, Ralph Votrian, John Wilder, Tige Andrews, Adam Kennedy and Mickey Shaughnessy.
The screenplay was by Robert Anderson from a story by James A. Michener, with music by David Raksin and typical schlocky 1950s title song by Sammy Cahn, performed by Eydie Gorme. The film was photographed in CinemaScope by Joseph Ruttenberg, with art direction by William A. Horning and Paul Groesse (Groesse scouted the New Zealand locations) and set decorations by Edwin B. Willis and Henry Grace. The film was produced by Charles Schnee and directed by Robert Wise.
The film is available on DVD from Warner Archive for $19.99.
The film was reviewed twice in the Los Angeles Times, first by Philip K. Scheuer in a feature noting that it was the first of three Michener adaptations coming the screen, to be followed by “Sayonara” and “South Pacific.” He called it “a genuinely moving adaptation … of the long short story about the loneliness and hunger of women without men.”
Edwin Schallert’s Oct. 31, 1957, review carries the bizarre headline “Film Tells of Strange War Loves.”
Writing in the New York Times (Oct. 9, 1957), Bosley Crowther said:
THE terrible loneliness of New Zealand’s women whose men were away at war and the aftermaths of their liaisons with G. I.’s are given serious, if unspectacular, consideration in “Until They Sail.” The feature arrived at Loew’s State yesterday.But despite an adult approach to an important facet of World War II, these romances and blighted affairs seem only wistful remembrances of things past. The genuine tugs at the heart are few and far between in this bittersweet but basically restrained chronicle.
For Monday, we have a mystery guest in a newsboy cap!
Update: This is Wally Cassell
For Tuesday, we have a mystery chap on the phone.
Update: This is Adam Kennedy.
Brain Trust roll call: Michael Ryerson (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest) and Don Danard (Monday’s mystery guest).
For Wednesday, we have this mystery chap. He is in hospital, being visited by a mystery guest who will appear Friday.
Update: This is Charles Drake.
Brain Trust roll call: Michael Ryerson (Tuesday’s mystery guest).
For Thursday, we have a semi-mysterious chap.
Update: This is John Wilder.
Brain Trust roll call: Michael Ryerson (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Don Danard (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all our mystery guests), B.J. Merholz (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest) and — after a long absence — Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest).
And for Friday:
Mystery couple No. 1.
This is Paul Newman and Jean Simmons. “Until They Sail” was under the Hecht-Lancaster banner at one time, with Burt Lancaster as the lead.
Mystery couple No. 2.
Update: This is Joan Fontaine and Charles Drake. At one point Ava Gardner was considered for this role.
Mystery couple No. 3.
Update: This is Sandra Dee, in her film debut, and John Wilder.
Mystery couple No. 4.
Update: This is Wally Cassell and Piper Laurie. Natalie Wood was considered for this role at one point.
Brain Trust roll call: Michael Ryerson (Thursday’s mystery guest) and Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guest).