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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Manuela (1957)

A 42 year old captain (Trevor Howard) of a cargo ship is disillusioned with his life and drinks heavily. But when he discovers a 17 year old stowaway (Elsa Martinelli) on board, he falls in love and becomes oblivious to his duties as captain of the ship. Realistically, is there a future for them? Based on the novel by William Woods (who also did the screenplay), this is an early directorial effort by Guy Hamilton (GOLDFINGER). It's an interesting film that seems to have slipped under the radar (it currently has only 36 votes on its IMDb page) of most filmgoers. While not quite LOLITA, its tale of an aging alcoholic sea captain and a young underage girl is handled tastefully and honestly. The film's ending is ambiguous thus leaving us to give it the ending we want to imagine which I preferred to an alternate ending that was shot but not used which was more bleak. Howard, one of the best British actors (who still hasn't been given his due), is excellent here and Martinelli (obviously older than 17) is charming. They make up for Pedro Armendariz, who as the boat's chief engineer can't resist the chance to overact. With Donald Pleasence and Jack MacGowran.

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