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Love Island

Love Island(1952)

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Naval air lieutenant Richard Taber crash-lands in the Malay Archipelago island of Tuba Tara, or Love Island. Later, on the plane back to America, Dickie recounts his adventure to fellow traveler Capt. Robert Blake: When Dickie lands on the lush tropical island, he twists his ankle in the fall. Beautiful island girl Sarna comes to his aid, and in the broken English she learned from her father Arjuna, tells him about the many men competing for her hand in marriage. At the same time that she helps him to her home in town, her friend Tamor is confessing his love for her to Arjuna. They are interrupted by Jaraka, the wealthy older merchant who insists that he will add Sarna to his stable of wives. Sarna and Dickie arrive, and Tamor watches jealously as they flirt while she bandages Dickie's ankle. Spying them together, Jaraka slaps Sarna, and Dickie punches him in return. Sarna kisses Dickie in thanks and explains that wives are routinely beaten on the island. Just then, her friend Klepan arrives to announce that she is fleeing the island on a fishing boat to escape the abuse of her husband Ninga. All three visit the local temple, where a ritual dance is in progress, and Dickie tries to explain the concept of Jesus to the women. Sarna then details her island's wedding custom, in which the groom pretends to kidnap the bride, who receives a mock beating from her father, after which the local priest "convinces" the father to let the couple marry. When Dickie then kisses Sarna, she assumes they are engaged, and kneels in thanks to her god. Meanwhile, Klepan races to meet the fishing boat, but finds the captain has been murdered by Jaraka as a favor to Ninga. She tries to return to the temple, but Ninga catches her and gouges out her eyes as punishment. Learning of this, Sarna runs home, where she overhears Jaraka inform her father that he will expose a past crime of Arjuna's if Sarna does not marry him. Although Arjuna refuses to be intimidated, Sarna later promises to marry Jaraka the next day in return for her father's safety. That night, Klepan drowns herself in the ocean, and in the morning Sarna feigns happiness, though she mourns the loss of both Dickie and Klepan. Hoping to dissuade her from marrying Jaraka, Arjuna reveals that a white man is Sarna's actual father, but she nonetheless insists the wedding proceed. Realizing Sarna is doing this only to protect him, Arjuna enlists Tamor and Dickie's help in stopping the marriage, and moments later Tamor presents Sarna with her wedding gift: a carved box with Dickie hidden inside. Just as Sarna discovers Dickie's presence, her ceremony begins outside with a Balinese dance. Jaraka enters her room and, suspecting that Dickie is inside the box, locks it and instructs his servants to throw it into the river. Sarna goads him to open the box, but instead he thrusts his knife into it, narrowly missing Dickie. Tamor, seeing Sarna's fear, attacks Jaraka, who stabs him. In his last act before dying, Tamor unlocks the box, allowing Dickie to break free and fight with Jaraka. The moment Dickie manages to lock Jaraka into the box, Sarna and Arjuna enter, and the happy couple embraces. Back on the plane to America, Blake wonders what happened to Sarna, and Dickie points out that she is asleep in the seat across from them.