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Enchanted Island

Enchanted Island(1958)

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Enchanted Island (1958)

After the career high of The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), troubled Hollywood leading man Dana Andrews fell deeper into an existing depression, his dark moods exacerbated by a string of lifeless film assignments from his contract co-owners, Samuel Goldwyn and 20th Century Fox, and a growing dependence on alcohol. With prestige pictures such as Otto Preminger's Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) coming fewer and far between, the actor developed a reputation for being difficult, disinterested, unpredictable and all too often incapacitated when needed in front of the camera. On and off the wagon through the Fifties, Andrews was admittedly in his cups for Allan Dwan's Enchanted Island (1958), a Technicolor adaptation of Herman Melville's semi-autobiographical 1846 novel Typee, shot on location in Acapulco (subbing for French Polynesia). Cast as a robust sailor who jumps ship to escape his sadistic captain (Ted de Corsia) only to find himself falling for the green-eyed daughter (Jane Powell) of a cannibal king, the 49 year-old Andrews looked haggard and unhealthy throughout principal photography. Producer Benedict Bogeaus later brought suit against the actor for a purported twenty unexplained absences during shooting, asking for damages running to $159,769 - a postproduction contretemps that was settled out of court. Enchanted Island fared no better with moviegoers than it had with the critics but a recording of the title song by the Four Lads reached the No. 12 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in June of 1958.

By Richard Harland Smith

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