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The Captain’s Paradise, The (1953, Alec Guinness, Yvonne De Carlo)



Slyly scripted by Alec Coppel and Nicholas Phipps (the latter also playing a role in the film), The Captain’s Paradise casts Alec Guinness as a sea captain who has a girl in only two ports. In Gibraltar, there is wife one, placid, home-making, ultra-British Celia Johnson, ready with rissoles and slippers and unexciting domestic bliss.

In North Africa, at the other end of Guinness’s regular steamer run, lives wife two, steamy, voluptuous Yvonne De Carlo, who supplies him with champagne and torrid romance and is always ready to dance the rumba at the drop of a sailor’s hat. Guinness’s perfect life sadly crumbles about him, however, when De Carlo expresses an overwhelming desire to live a conventional pipe-and-slippers life, while Johnson decides to kick over the traces and go wild on the dance floor – and he is finally deserted by both women…

In 1953 The Captain’s Paradise, with its cheerful acceptance of bigamy, had a risqué element which no longer applies: it remains, however, a witty, saucy and charming comedy which, at the time, was one of the highest-grossing foreign films to play in the United States.

production details
UK | 94 minutes | 1953

Director: Anthony Kimmins
Writers: Alec Coppel, Nicholas Phipps

Alec Guinness as Captain Henry St. James
Yvonne De Carlo as Nita St. James
Celia Johnson as Maud St. James
Charles Goldner as Chief Officer Ricco
Miles Malleson as Lawrence St. James
Walter Crisham as Bob
Nicholas Phipps as The Major
Bill Fraser as Absalom (taxi driver)
Ferdy Mayne as The Sheikh
Sebastian Cabot as Ali (vendor)
Peter Bull as Kalikan firing-squad officer