Down Among the Sheltering Palms


1h 27m 1953

Brief Synopsis

Two Army officers stationed in the South Pacific find romance in this idyllic setting.

Film Details

Also Known As
Friendly Island, Paradise with Serpent, Sapphire Skies
Release Date
Mar 1953
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 27 Mar 1953
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the serialized story "Paradise with Serpent" by Edward Hope in Liberty (1 Feb--10 May 1947).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

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

William Lundigan

Capt. Bill Willoby

Jane Greer

Diana Forrester

Mitzi Gaynor

Rozouila

David Wayne

Lt. Frank G. Schmidt

Gloria Dehaven

Angela Toland

Gene Lockhart

Rev. Paul Edgett

Jack Paar

Lt. Mike Sloan

Alvin Greenman

Corp. Kolta

Billy Gilbert

King Jilouili

Henry Kulky

First lieutenant

Lyle Talbot

Maj. Gerald Curwin

Ray Montgomery

Lt. Everly

George Nader

Lt. Homer Briggs

Charles Tannen

Radio operator

Claude Allister

Woolawei

Edith Evanson

Mrs. Edgett

Fay Roope

Col. Thomas R. Richard

David Ahdar

Witch doctor

Sialofi Jerry Talo

Taomi

Clinton Bagwell

Colonel's aide

Steve Wayne

Officer

Richard Grayson

Officer

John Baer

Officer

Jean Charney

Native girl

Ann Moore

Native girl

Eden Hartford

Native girl

Connie Castle

Native girl

Vida Aldana

Native girl

Jacqueline Park

Native girl

Diana Dawson

Native girl

Helene London

Native girl

Hazel Shaw

Native girl

Midge Ware

Native girl

Jacqueline Wilson

Native girl

Carol Varga

Native girl

Jonni Paris

Native girl

Eilean Howe

Native girl

Barney Phillips

Murphy

Lee Marvin

Snively

Henry Slate

Pvt. Thompson

Joe Turkel

Harris

David Wolfson

G.I.

James Ogg

G.I.

Ray Hyke

G.I.

Roger Mcgee

G.I.

Grady Galloway

G.I.

Hal Baylor

G.I.

Gregg Martell

G.I.

Fred Datig Jr.

G.I.

Tom Coffey

G.I.

Robert H. Marr

G.I.

Michael Lally

G.I.

Frank Sully

G.I.

James Magill

G.I.

Jerry Miley

G.I.

Joe Bailey

G.I.

Ted Jordan

G.I.

Bud Stark

G.I.

Richard Monohan

G.I.

Gloria De Werd

Dancer

Jeffrey Sayre

Dancer

George Sawaya

Native boy

Birdie De Bolt

Native woman

Tex Brodux

Jimmie Thompson

Ward Ellis

Don Hulbert

Perk Lazelle

Bob Crosby

Leon Alton

Luukia Luana

Irene K. Silva

Film Details

Also Known As
Friendly Island, Paradise with Serpent, Sapphire Skies
Release Date
Mar 1953
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 27 Mar 1953
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the serialized story "Paradise with Serpent" by Edward Hope in Liberty (1 Feb--10 May 1947).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Film Length
10 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Paradise with Serpent, Sapphire Skies and Friendly Island. In April 1950, Los Angeles Times reported that Twentieth Century-Fox had purchased the rights to Edward Hope's story as a vehicle for Dan Dailey, and a November 1950 Los Angeles Examiner news item announced that June Haver would co-star with Gloria DeHaven. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, co-screenwriter Claude Binyon was originally set to direct the picture, Dailey dropped out of the project in order to take a three-month vacation and Haver was suspended by the studio for her refusal to take the role of "Diana Forrester."
       A May 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Richard Allan was cast in the picture, but his appearance in the finished film has not been confirmed. June 1950 Hollywood Reporter news items reported that the picture would be filmed either on a Pacific island or on one of the "tropical islands off Lower CA," but it appears that, instead, the picture was shot at the studio. Although contemporary sources refer to David Wayne's character as "Lt. Carl G. Schmidt," he is called "Lt. Frank G. Schmidt" in the film. The Hollywood Reporter review erroneously lists the film's running time as 73 minutes.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring March 1953

Released in United States Spring March 1953