The Beachcomber And Bluebottles

Elsa Lanchester plays an uptight missionary trying to reform a beach bum (Charles Laughton) in this 1938 romantic comedy directed by Erich Pommer, adapted from W. Somerset Maugham’s short story The Vessel of Wrath. Not to be confused with Muriel Box’s inferior 1954 remake with Glynis Johns and Robert Newton in the leading roles, this is reportedly the best of all the Laughton/Lanchester collaborations, and in some respects a precursor of The African Queen. On the same program, a rare, silent shortone of a series of three made by British film writer Ivor Montagu in 1928Bluebottles is a slapstick comedy written specifically for Elsa Lanchester, with Laughton in a small role as a gangster.

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