The Beachcomber (1938)

G   |    |  Drama

The Beachcomber (1938) Poster

In the Dutch islands, the sister of a pious missionary attempts to reform a womanizing, drunken beach bum.



  • Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester in The Beachcomber (1938)
  • Charles Laughton in The Beachcomber (1938)
  • Charles Laughton in The Beachcomber (1938)
  • Charles Laughton in The Beachcomber (1938)
  • Charles Laughton in The Beachcomber (1938)
  • Charles Laughton in The Beachcomber (1938)

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14 December 2017 | MartinHafer
| A great idea for a story that is unfortunately wasted.
Edward Wilson (Charles Laughton) is a drunkard and womanizer who lives somewhere in the Dutch East Indies (today known as Indonesia). Oddly, he and EVERYONE apart from the natives are very British...but no matter. Regardless, he's a pretty worthless drunk and is constantly in trouble with the law. But the local magistrate realizes Ed is pretty harmless and even likes him. However, their relationship is sorely tried when a couple incredibly moralistic Brits arrive and keep insisting that the government do something with Wilson...such as deporting him. However, this attitude changes when the uptight lady (Elsa Lanchester) is briefly shipwrecked with Wilson. Oddly, she almost instantly sees him as a flawed man with great potential...and she's not about to see him continue life without her guidance and care.

There are several problems with the film--most notably how quickly the lady goes from loathing Wilson to adoring him. This just didn't make any sense and would have worked had it been like the film "Swept Away" where a pair of folks who hate each other are stuck on a deserted island for a very long period. Additionally, Lanchester's character is a bit too shrill and too stereotypical to seem real in the least.

The bottom line is that the film is a time-passer and, unfortunately, nothing more. It is mildly interesting to see the husband/wife pair of Laughton and Lanchester acting together once again but apart from that this one just disappointed considering the actors and nice Southern France location shoot (yes, Southern France doubled for Indonesia).

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