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  Another Shore Irish Risky
Year: 1948
Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Robert Beatty, Moira Lister, Stanley Holloway, Michael Medwin, Sheila Manahan, Fred O'Donovan, Maureen Delaney, Dermot Kelly, Irene Worth, Bill Shine, Muriel Aked, Wilfrid Brambell, Michael Dolan, W.A. Kelly, Michael Golden
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Gulliver Sheils (Robert Beatty) is a man with a dream: one day he will escape his life of nothing in particular in Dublin, and make his home in the South Seas on the tiny island of Raratonga which he regards as a paradise on Earth. Imagine it! Nothing to do all day but lounge on the beach, briefly rousing yourself to catch a fish for dinner or take a drink to sustain your good mood. All he needs is two hundred guineas and he can realise this ambition, but coming up with the cash has proven something of a problem. How does a man with no visible means of support, unless he relies on his old job as a civil servant there, generate the funds to travel halfway around the world? He does have a plan, first he needs an accident, then he needs the injured party to be rich...

Britain's Ealing Studios were ambitious too, and keen not to stay in the London and Home Counties area when they set the locations for their film productions, so by the end of the nineteen forties had travelled to various corners of The British Isles, and even further afield, in their drive to represent as many different places and people as possible. Another Shore was one of their Irish efforts, though said representation was not quite embraced as fully as they might have hoped, for most called out their view of the Irish capital as not as convincing as Ealing wished it to be, possibly because most of the leads were not Irish at all: Beatty was Canadian, and his character's on-off love interest was played by Moira Lister, the South African actress who adopted England as her home country.

Lister played an Englishwoman who meets Gulliver on the beach, and though he refuses to so much as share his name with her so paranoid is he about settling down anywhere but his personal paradise, she is much taken. He takes great pains to point out he is not a great catch at all, as a dedicated waster in life rather than anyone who could support her, but handily for the plot she has a bit of money herself and though he would never suggest it, she could support him. Gulliver has a strange moral code: he wants to get through his years taking the easiest path possible, with no ties and on other people's money, but he refuses to exploit anyone except some old lady or gent who is at the close of their days and is able to will him some of their fortune when they shuffle off the old mortal coil.

Likeliest candidate for that is Stanley Holloway (whose accent is more believable than Beatty's attempt, it has to be said), a wealthy old chap who will gladly drink his fortune away if he manages to give his wife-appointed manservant the slip, which he frequently does. Our hero is not sure how far he will get by befriending Holloway's Alastair, so keeps up his usual pastime of hanging around an accident blackspot in the centre of the city, reasoning that the rich have cars and will be more happy to pay out to any witness who can help them should they come a cropper with a pedestrian or other road user. As you can see, this amounted to not very much at all, but its very inconsequentiality becomes the point over the course of a brief, rambling hour and a quarter, and as far as that went it was a pleasant watch. No, it was not going to perform anything significant for Irish-British relations, but the impression was that entertainment was the goal, and Beatty was by no means offputting when he might have been in other hands. Music by Georges Auric (leaning on the clich├ęs).

[Network release this on Blu-ray as part of The British Film with an image gallery as an extra.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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