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Two Army officers stationed in the South Pacific find romance in this idyllic setting.
At the end of World War II, Capt. Bill Willoby is distraught to learn that rather than being sent home, he and his men are being deployed to tiny Midi Island, as part of the forces occupying the formerly Japanese-held Gilbert Islands. Bill and his lieutenant, Frank G. Schmidt, are relieved by the hearty welcome they receive from the native girls and King Jilouili and his British translator, Woolawei. The men's joy sours, however, when Bill receives orders that there is to be no fraternization between the U.S. forces and the natives. Bill tries to interest the bored and frustrated men in sports, but morale quickly plummets. The officers perk up upon the arrival of Reverend and Mrs. Paul Edgett and their lovely niece, Diana Forrester, but despite his own attraction to Diana, Bill instructs the officers that it would be hypocritical for them to pursue Diana when the enlisted men are without any female companionship. Soon after, Bill is notified that he has been made the military governor of the island, while Frank, fed up with his bumbling corporal, Kolta, persuades Diana to work in the office as a secretary. Diana, who had gotten off on the wrong foot with Bill, is impressed by his men's devotion to him when they fix up a bungalow for him. That night, Bill is thunderstruck when Jilouili gives him a beautiful native girl, Rozouila, as a gift, and is even more upset when Woolawei explains that she is now his wife. Bill goes to the reverend's house seeking advice but instead finds Diana, who flirts with him. The reverend interrupts the couple as they are about to kiss, and after Diana leaves, Bill asks him what to do about Rozouila. Edgett advises Bill to keep Rozouila in a native hut far enough away from his bungalow for propriety's sake, but close enough to avoid offending the king. Unfortunately for Bill, Rozouila has fallen in love with him and resents not being able to live with him. Bill's life becomes even more complicated by the arrival of public relations officer Maj. Gerald Curwin and Angela Toland, the writer of a naughty novel who now fancies herself a correspondent. The seductive Angela revels in the attention of the soldiers, although she is mostly attracted to Bill. In love with Diana, Bill shows his lack of interest in Angela, but she still tries to seduce him. Bill also continues to hide Rozouila, who, along with Diana, is jealous of Angela, especially after he is ordered by Curwin to spend more time with the writer and show her around the island. One evening, Diana and Rozouila hide in separate bushes to spy on Bill and Angela, and are delighted to see Bill reject Angela. The next night, Angela again throws herself at Bill, and he finally tells her that he is in love with another girl and orders her to leave the island. Furious, Angela returns to her bungalow, where she finds Rozouila rummaging through her things. When Rozouila proclaims that she is Bill's woman, Angela assumes that the native girl is the woman about whom Bill spoke, and she writes a scandalous article accusing Bill of breaking the non-fraternization rule. Although they had formerly stood by Bill through thick and thin, the soldiers believe the article and grumble about Bill's alleged betrayal. The charges also come to the attention of the inspector general's office, and Col. Thomas R. Richard is sent to investigate. While Bill prepares for the inquiry, the men decide to have a big party in the village, although Frank tells them that Bill has always been honest with them, and that if they fraternize now, Bill will be court-martialed. At the Edgetts' home, Diana, who has been blinded by Angela's accusations, is preparing to leave the island, but the reverend urges her to trust her heart. The reverend then goes to Bill's office, where he assures Richard that Bill has obeyed all the rules and has been a fine officer. Jilouili and Woolawei arrive, and when Woolawei explains that Bill can give Rozouila to her boyfriend Taomi, the misunderstanding is cleared up and Richard chews out Angela for not verifying her facts before publication. Angela then challenges Richard to visit the village, where the soldiers are partying, but upon their arrival, the astonished officers see that Jilouili, acting on advice from Diana, has declared the natives off limits. The situation is resolved when Bill then receives word that Midi has been declared a friendly island, thereby nullifying the non-fraternization orders. Soon after, the men board a ship for home, and while Rozoulia snuggles with Taomi, Angela and Frank, who are now a couple, sing their goodbyes to the natives along with Diana and Bill.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 27 Mar 1953|
|Release Date:||1953||Production Date:||
EB loaner* ; UCLA has 35mm safety print R-FB0000061143, M19317;
|Color/B&W:||Distributions Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
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