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  • Very good Paul Newman about the effect that war has on people's lives as they try to cope with their loneliness due to separation.

    It was a great ensemble cast with Newman and Jean Simmons (Oscar nominations for The Happy Ending and Hamlet), Joan Fontaine (Oscar for Suspicion, and nominations for Rebecca and The Constant Nymph), Piper Laurie (Oscar nominations for Carrie, Children of a Lesser God, The Hustler), and Sandra Dee.

    For a 1957 film, it really took on issues such as infidelity and illegitimate children and the casualness of sex during wartime.

    Newman was great as the officer charged with investigating girls who soldiers wanted to marry and take back home. He played a character very familiar in his films - one that had a close relationship with the bottle.
  • This movie is wonderful. It's romantic, truthful and perfectly cast. It shows how lonely women can be without the love of a man in their life, and how wounds take so long to heal, and how easily they can be made. Jean Simmons is beautiful and sensitive in her portrayal of a New Zealand lass trying to remain decent and understanding emotional pain and restriction in a time of war. Paul Newman is positively gorgeous and plays his role as a cynical soldier so well i could seriously believe him really being one. The ending of the movie, although somewhat predictable, is lovely and suitable. I recommend this film to all lovers of Jean Simmons, Paul Newman and the classically romantic dramas of the 50's.
  • James A. Michener's WWII tale of four sisters in a seaside New Zealand home who experience the highs and lows of love. With nearly all the men in their town off fighting in the war, the gals are at first apprehensive, but finally grateful when the streets fill up with American Yanks on leave. Joan Fontaine, as the eldest of the clan, falls for handsome soldier Charles Drake from Oklahoma (and has his child out of wedlock!), while Jean Simmons manages to get close to cynical, hard-drinking Paul Newman. Piper Laurie, as sort of the beautiful black sheep of the family, tires quickly of her sudden marriage and heads off to nearby Wellington to play the field. Sandra Dee, in her film debut, is very cute as a dimply, growing 15-year-old with a passion for boys. Attractive M-G-M production surprises in its openness of sexual matters, yet the flashback framework was unnecessary, as were the stock-shots of battleships on the horizon (making it seem as if the girls live on their own private island). Though each actor gets equal screen-time, Laurie nearly steals the picture with a finely-etched portrayal of a young woman desperately trying to find herself--and feeling the strangulation of family ties (she's also extraordinarily lovely here). Not up to the classics of the wartime movie genre, but certainly not bad. **1/2 from ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film opens with Newman, as a military officer, testifying at a trial, which reminds one of "The Rack." Indeed the subject once more is the way people surrender their ideals and moral standards under the pressures of war… But here the emphasis is on women, and the story details the endless suffering and sacrifices of four sisters on the New Zealand Homefront during World War II…

    Newman, an American marine, becomes involved with one of the sisters (Jean Simmons), whose husband has recently been killed in combat… It's hardly a smooth relationship: Simmons doesn't trust the GIs, who exploit and abuse the local women; Newman, who has been, in his words, "recently unmarried," has no faith in women or in romance… He is tough, unsociable, defensive, and trying to remain detached; and he uses his position as investigator of servicemen's prospective brides to advise men against marriage…

    This is the first of Newman's genuine alcoholics… When Simmons first meets him, he's in a bar, preoccupied with his liquor, and later, when she asks him how he copes with life, he shows her a bottle and delivers what would become characteristic Newman lines: "This is what I spend the night with—and no regrets . . . And nobody gets hurt."

    Gradually this confused and cynical man is unable to resist Simmons, who, he realizes, is the only woman he's ever really liked… He abandons what she calls his "hot affair with the bottle," although they seem to avoid a sexual relationship… Some melodramatic events threaten to keep them apart, but all ends happily in a huge CinemaScope closeup embrace…

    Newman manages to mask his insecurities and neuroses… Instead of showing his usual aggressiveness with women, he becomes very dependent, seeing Simmons as almost a mother and letting her see his weaknesses… Most Newman characters are emotionally immature but they are rarely as open about it—rarely as overtly passive, dependent and adolescent…
  • Until They Sail (1957)

    In some ways this is a terrific movie about women at home as their soldier men fought in World War II. The setting is New Zealand, and the women are four sisters there. The men are mostly American soldiers, seen not as invaders but still as aliens who are not quite welcome, The filming in wide screen (Cinemascope, really wide) black and white is fabulous. And the acting, including key roles by Paul Newman and Jean Simmons, is great.

    There isn't a stick of actual fighting here, if you want that kind of movie. Instead it's an interwoven tale of women trying to survive lost husbands in the war, and finding love, or not, in the mixed up world of war time New Zealand.

    It's an interesting cast, with three women and one man (Paul Newman) as the top four billings. And a story by James Michener, with photography by Joseph Ruttenberg. Sounds like a winner, especially as the director (with MGM) was the soon to be legendary Robert Wise.

    The scene is New Zealand during WWII. And it has to be added that Joan Fontaine and Jean Simmons are both first rate actresses (and Sandra Dee is getting a breakout role), all playing young women left behind by the men called to war. It's filmed in a kind of somber, clear-eye black and white, very emphatic and straight forward. It's what Paul Newman insisted was a "woman's picture," and in fact it really is about the four sisters and their varying interests in men.

    Jean Simmons shines far more than the famed Joan Fontaine, and she is the counterpart for Paul Newman, who is the point man for the American presence (and the introduction to American men). The writing is a bit stiff and the editing sometimes slow, as if the nuances of fairly mundane reactions and intentions are worth lingering over. They aren't, not always. If you make it beyond the long long establishing scenes, you'll eventually get sucked in. I'm a huge fan of Simmons, who seems undeniable in any role and not just for some kind of cover girl beaiuty, and so I loved her scenes, which are numerous.

    And yet, even if this movie seems to follow some ordinary romantic path, you can't help but feel, individually, for the four women wanting to not be alone. (It has some echo of "Little Women," to me.) That's the reason to hang in there. It takes time to get invested in the characters and their needs. Paul Newman is very good as usual, but more restrained than you might expect. Handsome, but without some kind of edge that made him bigger than life.

    This strikes me as a drama, not a war film but about a human problem that happens to have some soldiers in it. It's not all great stuff-some of the writing is filler, or a bit dumbed down-but the best of it is felt and honest, and it's all seen (filmed) with classic beauty. The interwoven series of relationships with several women and several men has a weird echo of the earlier "The Best Years of Their Lives," and that's a good thing (and Ruttenberg holds his own against Gregg Toland in that parallel). In fact, the photography in black and white Cinemascope (anamorphic wide screen) is really special, for those who notice such things.

    This is pure Hollywood, shot on an MGM lot (and studio). But it does to show how the "old" method worked so well. So, I loved this more than many of you will because of it's moviemaking aspects. It will get patient at times, but we all have to make time sometimes. As these women learned, too, without any choice.
  • I have to admit, when I first heard of this film, I didn't think it would keep my interest or attention. The casting, albeit comprised of talented performers, seemed a little odd: 40 year old Fontaine and 13 year old Sandra Dee as sisters sounds a little far fetched, but the pairing actually plays out believably on screen. The age difference translates into a believable mother/daughter type of sisterly relationship, which is appropriate since Fontaine's character has been left to tend to her three sisters after her parents' death.

    Preconceived notions aside, the story is a compelling one, centering around four sisters in WWII New Zealand. Fontaine, Dee, Jean Simmons, and Piper Laurie all turn in admirable performances as the Lesley sisters in a plot that can sometimes seem a little implausible, or at the very least, ahead of it's time. Paul Newman also co-stars as a Marine officer who plays a pivotal role in the lives of the sisters, namely Simmons' character.

    Not the best role of any of the principal actors' careers, but definitely worth seeing, especially if you are drawn to WWII era dramas.
  • War starts, the New Zealand men go off to fight, and four sisters are left to cope with that- and the arrival of the American fleet! It sounds like a recipe for the most hackneyed sort of wartime romance weepie, but this film is certainly not that.

    First, this is an ensemble movie, where no one 'star' dominates. From Paul Newman (probably the best-remembered name now) on, we are given a whole clutch of accomplished and finely nuanced performances.

    The cinematography is superbly judged: this is one of those lovingly observed pictures where a shot of 'two people talking' is rarely just that; the backgrounds and choice of shots are a delight. This must be viewed in the original format, not 'scanned'!

    The script is intelligent and daring. Sexual topics such as promiscuity and having children outside marriage are dealt with in a surprisingly straightforward and sophisticated manner for a 1950s movie. And, it must be said, they are dealt with in a human and sympathetic fashion. There is no hint of the lurid sensationalism nor of the tight-arsed repressiveness that films of this era often display when dealing with such subject matter.

    In a situation where the old well-patterned expectations have gone by the board, the sisters attempt to keep track of their universe with a wall-map of the world on which they plot where their men are now. The scope of this exercise is enlarged to include the dead, and then American 'friends'. Ultimately, the map is screwed up and thrown on the fire as the old world- including the old moral universe- goes up in smoke.

    The only jarring note is the plot device allowing the film to open and close with a murder trial. One of the sisters has married a 'local'- clearly marked as unsuitable by his working class tones and chest hair! The relationship ends in worse than tears. This element of the film has all the sophistication of an Enid Blyton 'Famous Five' childrens book, and sits uneasily in such an- otherwise- intelligent performance!
  • Having spent six years living in New Zealand I was especially gratified to see some of my old haunts and gorgeous scenery up there on the screen. When I was there 1986-1992 the people were still very upset about the goings-on between their native daughters and the visiting Americans despite 40 years having gone by. I was struck, in reading the reviews, both external and internal, by the insufferable condescension shown by the reviewers toward the finely nuanced shades of human emotion they had just been privileged to witness as created by author James Michener and director Robert Wise. Some of these people wouldn't know an authentic emotion if it shouted "Boo" at them. The clichéd use of the terms "women's movie" and "soap opera" ought to be finally banned from any attempt at serious criticism. Such marvelous performances by all concerned (both English and American) are to be treasured and appreciated rather than sneered at from some vantage point of aesthetic superiority on high. The emotional melting of the uptight moralistic Joan Fontaine and the pained, cynical Paul Newman are both heartbreakingly beautiful moments in this film. And the cottage pre-departure embrace between Newman and Peters reminded me of the similar moment on the beach between Lancaster and Kerr in From Here to Eternity of four years before. I think Until They Sail is one of the most wonderful movies I've ever seen.
  • filmed in New Zealand in 1957, One could wonder what paradise looks like from a couch potatoes vicarious point of view. 4 Sisters living in Christchurch New Zealand find love, happiness and sometimes tragedy after they embark in whirlwind relationships with visiting WWII American Soldiers. A cast of characters worthy of Hollywood splashes the screen with an older seasoned Joan fontaine matching wits with her 15 year old sister named Sandra Dee, To top it off you have Piper Laurie and jean Simmons as the other two sisters. Even though none of the sisters were born in New Zealand, they sure did a darn great job acting and making me believe that they couldn't have been born in any other country except New Zealand that i had to find out for myself! i would personally like to thank the New Zealand People for letting Hollywood film a great movie and letting the world watch the pristine, paradise settings of the NZ landscape !!!
  • magicmouse9493718 July 2013
    wonderful film

    The cast is incredibly attractive. You have Joan Fontaine, Jean Simmons, Sandra Dee all in beautiful black and white. People look so much better in black and white, as it evens the skin tone. Probably a provocative movie in its day, and Michener sure has a way of weaving a story around history. The people are so pretty in this movie, and their voices are so nice too. Love to see a young Paul Newman, he is a very feminine, very unusual man.

    I don't see movies that cover this much in 90 minutes now. I feel as if films today are afraid to cover ground too fast, and that the art of cinema has become overemphasized over storytelling, which this movie does rather well.
  • This film was written by famous writer James Michener and also a very famous director Robert Wise along with a great cast of actors who made this into a great 1957 Classic to view and enjoy. The story revolves around sister's who live in New Zealand during the war and most of the men have gone into the service of their country and left a small town without any men and strictly women. As the war continues, these women seek men and when the United States troops arrive in New Zealand many women want to get married, some have babies out of wedlock and the war upsets the morals of all men and women in this small town. Jean Simmons, (Barbara Leslie Forbes); Joan Fontaine Anne Leslie and Sandra Dee, (Evelyn Leslie) are all sisters, some married and some simply living with one man after another. Sanda Dee plays the role of the baby sister in her teens who also begins to fall in love. Paul Newman, (Capt. Richard Bates) has a great interest in Barbara Leslie after her husband is killed, but he will not commit himself to her and is really afraid to start a relationship because he has to fight in the Pacific against the Japanese Government. This is a very emotional film and shows the horrors of war and the suffering it causes men and women. Enjoy.
  • I don't know how big a star Newman was at the time, but his "cool-hand" cynic is amazing in this film. The pairing with Jean Simmons (some one I'd always thought of as a bit prim and cold) worked perfectly. Though superficially a hackneyed romance, Until They Sail really works because the central couple are so mature and dismissive of the war romances they see around them. The New Zealand setting was unexpected and charming. I'd love to see this in a double bill with the technicolour lushness of The Revolt of Mamie Stover: Full of passionate women fighting repressive 50s social attitudes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Jean Simmons, Joan Fontaine, Piper Laurie, Sandra Dee and Paul Newman star in "Until They Sail," a World War II romantic drama directed by Robert Wise. Four sisters watch their husbands and boyfriends go off to war and meet different fates. The central story is the romance between the widowed Barbara (Simmons) and an American marine (Newman). This is an early film for Newman; he has fourth billing.

    The drama emphasizes the tremendous loneliness of the American soldiers and the New Zealand women and the resulting changing morality. The liaisons that result are sometimes one-nighters, sometimes serious that end with a soldier's death, and sometimes end in marriage and relocation. Anne (Fontaine) falls in love with a soldier (Charles Drake) and becomes pregnant; Dee (Piper Laurie) has a husband she doesn't love who is a prisoner of war - she moves to Wellington and takes up with an assortment of soldiers; and Barbara's husband is killed. Evelyn, a mere child at the beginning of the war, matures as it continues and falls in love.

    "Until They Sail" begins with a courtroom scene and continues as Barbara's flashback. It moves somewhat slowly and has a tendency to be talky. The performances are uneven. Laurie, a vibrant actress, nevertheless seems as if she belongs to a different family, much more American than a New Zealand resident. Fontaine gives a gentle portrayal of a woman who finds love later in her life. As Barbara, Simmons gives us a serious young woman with certain standards who nevertheless finds herself drawn to the cynical Newman character. Though she enjoyed an excellent career, Simmons never had the career she deserved, belonging to an era that put her in competition with Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. It's a shame - of the three, she's the best actress. Her work in "Angel Face" is proof enough of that and that she is a stunning beauty who, when allowed, could also be sexy. In "Until They Sail," she again conveys her thoughts with no dialogue. At the end, she stands outside alone and the viewer can read her mind, as they could when she walked into the house in "Angel Face" after the death of her parents.

    This is a pleasant film, not spectacular, worth seeing for an early Newman and some likable actors.
  • As I wrote in the summary, this is NOT your typical war movie full of action and battles with fire-arms scenes; so, if you want to see something similar to THE LONGEST DAY or BATTLE OF BRITAIN, this movie it's not for you!

    Now I am not saying that UNTIL THEY SAIL it's bad. I am saying that this movie, instead of focusing on the war actions, it focuses on the women left behind waiting their husbands from the war and their woes and all the differences between them. And, even though it's not a must-see movie, it's actually pretty good.

    Visually, this movie is beautifully shot, and the locations (in New Zealand) are simply a delight to watch; the soundtrack, even though it's not outstanding, it's also pretty good. And the pace, although it dragged half-way, it's measured.

    The performances are all good: Paul Newman (in one of his first movies) it's charismatic and cool as always; Joan Fontaine, Piper Laurie and Sandra Dee are credible and give heart-felt performances, and Jean Simmons, like Newman, gives a deep and touching performance. And it's directed by Robert Wise, another great director of the 1950s-1960s.

    The story is very realistic and never gets over the top despite the setting and subject explored. In substance, even with a few flaws, it's well done and worth-watching.
  • A good deal made me want to see 'Until They Sail'. A fine director in Robert Wise, who directed two of my favourite films ('West Side Story' and 'The Sound of Music', is that going to be a popular opinion here?), a cast full of great actors (Paul Newman, Jean Simmons, Joan Fontaine), some interesting themes, my love for classic film and an equally interesting idea for a story.

    While it was not mind-blowing or perfect, neither will it be one of my favourites any time soon, 'Until They Sail' was still a well done film with many great things, that had emotional impact, was brave in how it portrayed its themes, made the most out of its story and far from wasted its talent. Not the best work of all involved but all come off well. More one of those appreciated it rather than loved it ones.

    'Until They Sail' is a little overwrought at times as could have done with a little less talk.

    Also found the outcome of the Piper Laurie and Wally Cassell subplot forced and a jarring note in a film that otherwise was anything but. The odd pacing lull here and there, but a vast majority of the time the pace is measured but seldom dull.

    However, there is nothing to fault the cast. Fontaine and Simmons give sensitive, deeply felt performances and Newman's is one of his better ones of his early career, comfortable and intensely cool. Piper Laurie's accent may stick out somewhat but her acting is committed and rich in emotion, while Sandra Dee is more than credible. Wise directs superbly.

    Visually, 'Until They Sail' is beautifully and cleverly shot with some striking and vivid locations. The script is thought-provoking and remarkably daring in its sophistication-filled and not over-serious handling of themes seldom explored in film at this point, giving it much humanity. The story is mostly sympathetic and poignant, avoiding getting too over the top in melodrama, not easy to do with the subject and topics explored. The characters are realistically written.

    In conclusion, well done and interesting, with few stumbling blocks and many great things. 7/10 Bethany Cox
  • Until They Sail might be the first Hollywood film about New Zealand that was filmed in New Zealand. Although you will find nary a Kiwi in the cast in the principal roles and no one even attempts an accent.

    Despite this, the fact that it was written by James Michener who certainly was the American author who wrote stories of the South Pacific certainly guarantees authenticity and entertainment. The film is about the four Leslie sisters who are getting a bit lonely because all of the available males are in the service in some of the far flung fronts that the British Empire needed defending.

    Although the danger wasn't as immediate for New Zealand as it was for Australia with Japanese occupied New Guinea spread like a canopy over that continent, still after Pearl Harbor for a couple of months fear of occupation was also added to the collective civilian psyche of the Kiwis. Then the American marines arrived and later the army as they did in Australia using the place as a training and embarkation point for the various island battles of the Pacific War.

    The four sisters are Joan Fontaine, Jean Simmons, Piper Laurie, and Sandra Dee. Fontaine the eldest feels responsibility for the rest and she's in danger of becoming one prudish spinster, but she finds real romance with a marine captain in Charles Drake who is a Rhodes Scholar to boot.

    Simmons is married with a husband off in North Africa and she resents all the Yanks, as they said in Great Britain, oversexed, overpaid, and over here. Paul Newman is a recently divorced marine who's quite cynical about the opposite sex and no threat. Later on Simmons and Newman do find a need for each other.

    Newman is a staff officer and one of his jobs is to investigate claims for all the homesick marines who fall in love and decide they want to marry Kiwi girls. Piper Laurie has not let any grass grow under her feet, she marries Wally Cassell one of the few male Kiwis around and because she has needs. Then later she's got her pick of Americans for that chore after Cassell goes off to war. Truth be told Cassell is something of a low life, but not like Laurie didn't know what she was getting into.

    Finally there's Sandra Dee in her motion picture debut creating her image of sweet virginity for the public. The youngest and wisest, she's content to wait for a boy in the service and hopes he'll come back safe and sound of wind and limb.

    As the Citadel Film series book on The Films Of Paul Newman points out, this was Newman's first attempt at screen romance. The cynical part of his nature he always had down. But his scenes with Simmons were very tender indeed especially after his wall of cynicism comes crashing down.

    The surprise for me was the performance that director Robert Wise got out of Wally Cassell. This is a guy who usually plays happy go lucky types, but good guys in many films. This portrayal opens quite a different dimension for me, for this particular player.

    If it were remade today I think that it would be mandated that players from New Zealand or Australia have roles. I can certainly see Nicole Kidman in either the Simmons or Fontaine parts. Until a remake is done this version of Until They Sail is a fine wartime romance.
  • For a "woman's picture," "Until They Sail" is surprisingly effective. The acting is generally first-rate, but Piper Laurie is a stand-out. This was possibly the first time she was able to overcome that silly flower-eating publicity gimmick that Universal foisted on her and then proceeded to condemn her to swashbucklers and other junk while she was under contract to them. It's too bad that she couldn't have started with a studio that would have known what to do with her and was interested in filming more than mindless fluff.

    Jean Simmons was also great in a somewhat rare opportunity at a role with some depth--anyone remember most of the dreck she miraculously survived in her RKO period?

    Even Joan Fontaine was less arch than she usually was in her later films (even the shark was better in "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea").
  • "Until They Sail" is a film about four sisters who live in New Zealand during WWII. Oddly, however, the actresses they chose were two English and two American women....and they certainly didn't sound much like Kiwis. Despite this problem, however, the film IS good....and well worth seeing.

    While many today don't realize it, during WWII, New Zealand was a staging point for American soldiers. Many marines in the Pacific stayed there until called into action. At the same time, New Zealand soldiers were New Zealand had been at war with the German for over two years and there were few soldiers back in their country to protect it from the new enemy, the Japanese....and another reason they stationed many thousands of Americans there. Not surprisingly, this did cause a few problems--such as illegitimate births and marriages and affairs. This film focuses on this sexual aspect...but does it in a mature and responsible manner. It is NOT meant to titillate but to give you an idea what it was like for the women and soldiers...and thanks to excellent writing and acting and direction, the film is well worth your time.
  • The film seems quite mature in many ways, it avoids showing anything of the war itself--instead keeping us in the "seats" so to speak of the women left behind, who can only learn about the war on the radio and who chart it on a map on the wall with pins for their husbands.

    The film opens like a courtroom movie--it's not. It's also not really Paul Newman's film, he is off screen for a good part of the movie. It's the sisters story and principally Jean Simmons who is very good in the film as is Newman and both of them together have chemistry, once that finally happens.

    Director Wise has a smooth moving camera style here that keeps things moving and to see a film about women cheating on their wartime husbands with foreign soldiers is still unusual--as the woman aren't demonized. The romantic and human elements ring true and the film seems like it was made more recently than it was. The photography is beautiful in 2:35 as well.

    The only real soap opera element to the way the film is handled is in a really poor dated music score, especially the cheesy opening song and that theme then plays repeatedly during the film. Every time the score kicks in the film almost sinks, but never does, to the level of romance melodrama. The studio may have demanded a song, but regardless it kicks off the film on the wrong foot. Luckily the score does stop and is not wall to wall or it would do more damage.

    The U.S. service men are not portrayed as unrealistic heroes either--again keeping with the viewpoint of the town's people being forced to house the friendly temporary invaders and deal with their crude foreign customs. And it's interesting to see Newman's character who has the job of trying to control what happens between the love and sex starved men and woman they may want to marry.

    Only other real weakness is in the scene that finally brings us back to the trial that opened the film. The scene kind of comes out of nowhere, feels like a forced dramatic conflict and really should be longer and set up better to be totally convincing and as harrowing as it could be.

    And yes this is a Hollywood movie so there aren't authentic accents. Mostly there are no accents which is better than a bunch of studio trained actors "doing" accents. In fact though good location footage was shot the bulk of it was shot on the back lot at 20th Century fox. The two blend seamlessly.
  • This one is about New Zealand in wartime and the romantic entanglements of four kiwi sisters with American servicemen stationed in Christchurch and Wellington. Jean Simmons, Joan Fontaine, Piper Laurie and Sandra Dee play Barbara, Ann, Delia and Evelyn respectively, the nice middle-class Lesley girls whose men are away fighting in North Africa, and who find themselves drawn to the glamorous Americans.

    "It's no use worrying about Delia. She's lost," opines Ann. Delia is the fallen woman, the girl whose head is turned by the sexual allure of the G.I.'s. She lands herself a job in Wellington in order to get away from South Island and the orbit of Ann, and also to situate herself in the middle of the highest possible concentration of Americans. Piper Laurie is ideal as the beautiful, doomed girl, and the only thing which detracts from an otherwise memorable performance is her difficulty concealing her American accent.

    The tale is told from the subjective viewpoint of Barbara. Her husband left for the African campaign only a month after marrying her, but as the second-eldest of the Lesley girls, and a married woman, she has to shoulder a lot of responsibility for her sisters. She meets the handsome, embittered Major Harding (Paul Newman) and when, after the first encounter, she stops to look back at him, we know that she will fall in love. As Harding puts it, misquoting Shakespeare, "war makes strange bedfellows".

    Ann is the eldest of the brood, and the one most preoccupied with respectability. She falls for Captain Bates (we see her suppress a smile when Barbara looks her way). What subsequently happens to Ann is meant to illustrate that it is only natural for men and women to couple, and that conventional notions of decency fly out of the bedroom window in wartime. However, the events which befall her, good and bad, are rather far-fetched and damage the story's overall credibility.

    Even the youngest of the litter, schoolgirl Evelyn, has Tommy away fighting with ANZAC and Max here in Christchurch. How believable is this, given Evelyn's age and the mores of her time and social class?

    The story contains too many dramatic sunderings and liaisons to be convincing. Would Barbara really trawl the hotels of Wellington, asking for Harding at each reception desk, when she could simply phone around? In its bid to appeal to the American market, the film goes in for grating Americanisms like courtroom witnesses "taking the stand".

    Verdict - Pleasant romantic yarn which does not stand up to close scrutiny
  • When this film was made in the 1950s it was a shocker. Clearly daring for its time, it's now tame, to say the least. Paul Newman is handsome and gives his typical outstanding performance. He's a Marine officer and a gentleman, torn with his desire to have sex with Jean Simmons or not to have sex with her. Simmons wants to have sex because she hasn't seen a man in 30 months. The film paints females of all ages as "ready, willing, and able," to jump in bed with a man in uniform if 30 months go by. The rest of the cast is fair, and some are wooden and over-the-top. Combat deaths are mourned for a minute, and the widows are quick to forget. Until They Sail is out-dated, but if you're a Jean Simmons or Paul Newman fan, it's a good rainy night movie.
  • I am currently watching this movie on television. I am a native of Christchurch, New Zealand, where this movie was made in 1957.I am afraid to say that,despite any positive attributes this film may have, it is completely spoilt for me by the total absence of any detectable NZ accent spoken by the lead characters so far.The accents seem to swing from Jean Simmonds "cut glass" English tones, to the other obvious American accents of the principals, supposedly playing NZ girls.There has been one attempt at our accent so far, by a man, which ended up sounding broad Cockney.I appreciate that back when this film was made,credible New Zealand born actors were in much shorter supply than nowadays, but these voices playing Kiwis must have been as grating to NZers watching then, as they are now.Jean Simmonds speaks the way the Queen does...nothing like a New Zealander!Voice coaches must surely have been in existence back then? We don't talk in English or American accents, and didn't then either.Sloppy work..."if a jobs worth doing, its worth doing well."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Four sisters in New Zealand live in a house with a fantastic view when WW II breaks out and they suddenly find themselves surrounded by American servicemen. The presence of the Americans is foreshadowed by the fact that the character played by Sandra Dee sounds more Yank than she does a native New Zealander. The sister played by Piper Laurie marries a real kiwi lout named Shiner who ends up killing her with a sword. Her demise really comes as no surprise as movie women back then with multiple sex partners never seemed to live happily ever after. Personally I would have been satisfied if they would have had Piper move to a suburb in New Jersey as her screen punishment. My favorite scene is when Paul Newman reaches in the glove compartment of his vehicle and produces a bottle of his salad dressing. "This is all I need," says Newman to Jean Simmons. Of course we the viewer know that Paul needs more than just his salad dressing, and sure enough, by the time "The End" pops up on the screen, he and Jean are committed to spending the rest of their lives together.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is not the most spectacular "women in war" movie ever made, but Robert Wise didn't disappoint either.

    The focus of this film is on Jean Simmons, which was a little disappointing for me because I watched it for Joan Fontaine. Her screen time is pretty much focused into a 20 minutes sequence showing Anne falling in love in Dick (Richard Bates), him shipping off to Tawara, ending with the despair on her face when Paul Newman told her that causality list is still top-secret. To top it off, the script annoyingly turned Anne's tragedy into a happy ending - having Anne receiving telegram and a large sum of money from her mother-in-law, a congressman writing to the Marines demanding that she be sent back as royalties. The audience is led to believe that Dick was from a good, wealthy family and Anne and her little boy will live happily ever after. If you want to see a more realistic look on how the foreign war brides adjust to their American life without their husbands, I recommend Oliver Stone's "Heaven and Earth".

    The best developed story line is of course the relationship between Paul Newman's Jack and Jean Simmons's Barbara. It's a gentle but thoughtful criticism of the war marriages of 1940's, which Hollywood was beginning to examine during the 50's. And the film took its time bring them together, which makes the feelings Jack and Barbara have for each other more believable than that of Anne and Dick's. Again, I would have liked it better if they didn't end up together. But then, these four girls have been through so much.....and it never hurts to look into those blue eyes of Mr. Newman's as he says "I don't love you" (yeah right!)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . the notorious "Baby Boom" could have occurred immediately following the end of World War Two, during which a huge percentage of America's Manhood bought the farm. Wouldn't most of the Womenfolk back on the Home Front succumb during cat fights over the few male War survivors? A close viewing of UNTIL THEY SAIL will go a long way toward solving this riddle. It turns out that many of these excess women had their heads lopped off with "war souvenir" samurai swords because of their war-time infidelities and unfaithfulness toward their mate returning from The Front, like "Dee" in UNTIL THEY SAIL. Furthermore, America garnered the "Cream of the Crop" in the form of gorgeous War Brides such as SAIL's "Barbara" and "Anne," from all corners of the Globe. The primary function of a large portion of America's Military Brass--including "Jack" here--was to "vet" this "new blood" about to be spilled into the Yankee gene pool, to make sure that it was Pure enough. Rejects such as Dee were sent directly to the Glue Factory, usually with the blessing of Local Authorities, as UNTIL THEY SAIL so well illustrates.
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