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Monday, April 25, 2011

Sins Of Rachel Cade (1961)

In the Belgian Congo of 1939, a Protestant missionary and nurse (Angie Dickinson) with strict moral views arrives to work in a jungle hospital but when the doctor (Douglas Spencer) in charge dies of a heart attack, it falls upon her to maintain the mission hospital with the help of two natives. But the sexual freedom of the native populace as well as the presence of a Belgian official (Peter Finch) and an American flier (Roger Moore) begins to unravel her sexual repression. The film is interesting for its frankness in sexual matters. For example, the film brings up and condemns the tribal ritual of genital mutilation on young girls (not much talked about in 1961) as well as questioning the projection of one's value system on another culture. The unorthodox casting of sexy Angie Dickinson as an uptight, sexually repressed missionary pays off here. She's really quite good, reining in her innate sexuality and convincingly displaying the inner conflict of a woman at war with herself regarding her sexual nature. It's a pity the film isn't better though her performance seems to make it so, at times. Moore is dull and Finch seems to be doing a retread of a similar character he played in THE NUN'S STORY. Directed by Gordon Douglas with a reheated score by Max Steiner which sounds right out a 40s romance like NOW VOYAGER. With Mary Wickes, Errol John, Juano Hernandez, Woody Strode and Scatman Crothers.

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